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My Sunday Column: Standing up to the town bully — Glendale Just Says ‘No’ to the IBEW and Union Bully Brian D’Arcy

The sparse front page of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 website expresses exactly the message Brian D’Arcy wants his members to get: Rotating photos of protesting workers waving “A DEAL IS A DEAL” signs.

It also features a “hot topics” box with a single four-year-old item about heroic workers, a one-sentence message with a mug shot of the union boss and a link to a story with the headline, “Union chief is wired into City Hall.”

The story is a three-month-old column in the L.A. Times by Steve Lopez calling D’Arcy “feared, coveted, respected, reviled” and talks about how the IBEW plans to spend millions of dollars to get Wendy Greuel elected mayor and put more compliant City Council members into office.

D’Arcy is the king of bullies and IBEW Local 18 is the club he uses to force the docile leadership of L.A. to surrender to the outrageous demands he throws on the bargaining table under threat of a strike intended to shut off water and power to four million people.

A lot of people call that blackmail. But extortion tactics have worked so well that D’Arcy — with 95% of the workforce under his control — wields as much clout in the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power as the general manager. It’s a fact that helped him in contracts with municipal utilities in Burbank, Pasadena and Azusa — cities under pressure to match wage rates at the LADWP, where workers average $100,000 a year, a 50% premium over other city workers for the same jobs and a 25% premium over other utility workers in the region.

Nobody says “no” to Brian D’Arcy. Until now.

On Thursday, Glendale City Manager Scott Ochoa — after a year of being jerked around, threatened and harassed by D’Arcy and his minions during fruitless negotiations on an initial contract that long ago had reached an impasse — decided enough was enough.

He told the union the city was ready to unilaterally implement its last, best and final offer for Glendale Water & Power if the City Council agrees on Tuesday — an offer that includes a 1.75% pay cut.

Hooray for Glendale!

The pay cut doesn’t mean much will be saved this fiscal year, but it sets a lower salary benchmark for negotiations with the IBEW for next year. Martin Marrufo, the IBEW spokesman, did not return a call Friday seeking comment.

“The important part here is we are establishing a lower baseline and demonstrating our commitment to compensation and pension reform to all of our employees, that there are no protected classes,” Ochoa said. “And it signals to the community that we are equally serious in making sure we are negotiating for them in good faith. This is the city of Glendale, not the City of GWP.”

It’s a strategy not without risk. You can be sure that what happens will be watched closely by officials in other cities with IBEW contracts — even L.A., which despite its monumental budget problems, has won only modest concessions from other city unions in great part because DWP workers keep on getting richer.

In one of his first acts as mayor in 2005, Antonio Villaraigosa signed off on wage increases of up to 30% over five years for the DWP, and later for up to 4% a year even during the recession. It was a no-brainer for other unions to get 25% increases over five years in 2007.

Glendale has faced some cuts in services, but has also won significant concessions from its unions, even getting them to agree to pay some of the city’s share of pension fund contributions, and is in as good a position as any city to weather the continuing economic volatility.

But giving in to D’Arcy would endanger the deals and healthy relationships with other unions.

“We are not hell-bent for a fight,” Ochoa said. “What demonstrates that is we continued to talk with them, ‘OK, we’re at impasse, but for purposes of settlement, we’re willing to throw other things on the table.’”

It will be interesting, to say the least, to see how D’Arcy responds and the union explains what has happened, since it convinced a majority of Glendale Water & Power workers to join the IBEW with the promise of the lucrative wages and benefits enjoyed by LADWP employees.

It will be no less interesting to see how City Council members respond Tuesday night with the IBEW no doubt out in full force.

(This column was published in the Sunday Glendale News-Press)

This entry was posted in City Hall, DWP, Glendale-Burbank, Hot Topics, Los Angeles and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to My Sunday Column: Standing up to the town bully — Glendale Just Says ‘No’ to the IBEW and Union Bully Brian D’Arcy

  1. teddy says:

    I wondered about the Greuel/D’Arcy comment earlier.
    Thank you, Ron, for reminding us how power works.
    It is not what you know but WHO you know. Power
    is running L A County. Power is spelled D’Arcy.
    Greuel’s boss will be D’Arcy – not you or me. Think about it.

  2. anonymous says:

    Does anyone know what D’Arcy’s salary is?

  3. teddy says:

    If the average salary of dunion mwembers working for the cities and DWP is 100,000,
    ir is way more than that. I am just wondering how many taxpayers earn or ever
    earned $100,000?

  4. teddy says:

    Why don’t I respell the first sentence? S orry

  5. anonymous says:

    D’Arcy’s got to be making more than the members. Considering all the transfers (aka laid off city workers) to DWP, more money made its way into the “Brotherhood’s” bank account(s).

    No need to respell teddy!!!

  6. anonymous says:

    If you had doubts what kind of a garbage is Greuel , read Sandy Bank`s column in LAT today, Main section p2 or tomorrow, Ca section p1. Unprincipled, ruthless, hypocrite, liar . Sandy must be very street smart as Wendy could not fool her with her phony smile and bs, as she did with the cheer leaders of DN.

  7. anonymous says:

    D`Arcy won`t be feared, in fact will be treated as a plaque, after May 21. Any politician who accepts his millions in the future should lose for being stupid. Essel anyone? D`Arcy is going to cut his lapdog `s throat on May 21, unwillingly of course. But, she deserves it.

  8. teddy says:

    To Anon, thanks. Actually typos.
    I don’t know why union members do not realize that the union DOES NOT KNOW
    how they vote. They join to get a job and then they they are warned about going against union rules. California cannot become an honest state with respect
    for each citizen until they become unlawful once more.

  9. Rita-of-Sunland says:

    Brian D’Arcy is nothing but a corrupt, greedy union goon who’s currently controlling the city council, neighborhood councils AND local elections. And will all the money he makes, you’d THINK he’d get that pock-marked mug of his sanded down or SOMETHING. Do you know that we, as tax-payers/DWP rate-payers, pay $50,000 A YEAR towards EVERY DWP worker’s pension??

  10. anonymous says:

    Rita, are you spreading the word to your friends that Greuel is the ” corrupt” D`Arcy`s lap dog?

    • Rita-of-Sunland says:

      You betcha! (Oh, wait– I thought Greuel said she was a “tough, fiscal WATCHdog”— not a lap-dog! She better get her analogical animals straight.)

  11. Sandy Banks noted that Wendy is really Cruela Deville, the puppy beater, according to some Garcetti supporters! This must mean that Wendy Cruela-Gruela is not a pet-friendly candidate! I love pets, even Bullies, like those little loyal miniature Bulls like D’Arcy. Glendale is trying to repel the D’Arcy invasion. I don’t take his $$$$, as I’m the People’s Candidate—vote me in a 2nd term and I’ll follow Glendale’s lead. I just got my DWP bill and I fucking shit! (oops, sorry I’ve been hitting the Johnny Blue a bit hard this morn.) I’ll leave it at that. VOTE ME IN—I NEED THE JOB!!

  12. MissAnthrope says:

    Anyone read Sandy Banks’ kiss-up column about what a wonderful mayor Villaraigosa has been?

    Banks is either an idiot or just another local media whore who has subcombed to Villaraigosa’s scuzzy Latin charms.

    How many schtoops from the phony bantom rooster does it take to get a favorable column?

    • Rita-of-Sunland says:

      Miss Anthrope– EXCELLENT observations!! (And very funny!)

    • anonymous says:

      Miss A…
      Sandy Banks is both…
      flattered the cock for self-advancement and future reward…
      but the only ones who got schtooped was the public…

  13. anonymous says:

    Yeah Carmen, , I also got my DWP bill , I live in the Valley , and I gasped . One thing for sure . I didn` t vote for frauds Greuel and Feuer .

  14. scott zwartz says:

    People should be wary of Union bashing. The Protocol of the Elders of Zion had scads of reasons to blame Jews for all the world’s ills, and we Angelenos should be smart enough not to repeat that mistake. Of course, the Protocols were a huge forgery and the DWP has gotten away with a lot of bad stuff — While Garcetti was council president and after Windy Greuel had moved on to be an inept controller.

    Windy did not bring the city to functional bankruptcy — that was Garcetti – 12 year city council person and 6 years council president. Yes, while Windy was on the council, she did nothing to help the city. Maybe she once voted against the wishes of Council President Garcetti, but if such a thing occurred, it is for Windy to bring that to the public’s attention.

    Here’s Windy’s one saving grace — she’s too inept to coordinate the corruption necessary to bankrupt the City. As for the Union, let’s put the blame where it belongs — not only on Garcetti but also on ourselves. We voters “bought” the peace with the DWP and as long as it did not inconvenience us, everything was fine.

    Windy’s hands are now tied as everyone knows that the Union bought her — and that fact now makes her useless to the Union.

    • Rita-of-Sunland says:

      Unions have outlived their usefulness. This isn’t Dickensian England, Scott. Today’s AFL-CIO are largely populated by people who can think for themselves MINIMALLY at best and are easily manipulated by Communist-leaning union goons like Brian D’Arcy, Dolores Huerta and the UTLA.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Miss Anthrope–Luv your witty and intelligent comments, although I had to look up ‘schtoops”.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Scott–It is not about union bashing but about unions that are so selfish and self-interested that they have become a noveau-riche society unto themselves. They cannot subsist off a population that doesn’t have half their pay or benefits. Something has to give–either their inflated wages and benefits or a city headed towards bankruptcy. It no longer is a beneficial co-existence. Either way we pay.

    • Daniel says:

      Nobody was compaining years ago when corporate fat-cats were getting rich off the market. Now you are still getting fleeced by them. They have even succeeded in convincing you that middle-class workers are at the core of the problem. No one was complaining about the DWP when the economy was good and people were making more than union workers were in the private sector. Now everyone wants to cry. We are always hiring!! Come on down! Go through an apprenticeship and come work on some high voltage with us. Start focusing on the problem, not the few of us who are actually still making aq “living.” Nice of Ron to say that the “DWP workers keep getting richer.” Ron, I can assure you that I, nor anyone here is “rich.” Maybe we are rich in job security, which is why everyone is jealous. You did not want to come work for lower wages, higher security, and benefits though. Istead you chased your money in the private sector. Now stop whining about us, or fill out an application. You can lie and use inflamatory verbage “we are rich” all you want. The divisiveness and dishonesty are easily identified.

      And stop calling it “tax-payer” money as well. It is not. It is rate-payer money, whos rates are amongst the lowest in the country.

      • Anonymous says:

        “And stop calling it “tax-payer” money as well. It is not. It is rate-payer money, whos rates are amongst the lowest in the country.” The same BS, I heard from DWP employees who claimed they were entitled to more money because they created their own revenue. How so? You create your high wages/revenue by fleecing a captive customer base. As for rates being the lowest in the country, BS again. The taxpayers own the utility and so the rates should be even lower. It is stupid to compare it to any other utility.

        However, you slice or dice it, you guys are paid more than you deserve. As for “Go through an apprenticeship and come work on some high voltage with us.”–seriously, is your job more dangerous than the US Army where thousands have lost their lives or maimed in Afghanistan alone, soldiers who make a fraction of what DWP employees do. Enough of this nonsense. No more pay raises and if possible a big reduction. And, don’t vote for any candidate who takes DWP union money.

      • Rita-of-Sunland says:

        Daniel– You’re a piece of DWP crap I have to flush down my toilet with over-priced water.

  17. teddy says:

    My reference books are inadequate for “Stchtoops” . What does it
    BTW – tomorrow is Ron’s birthday. Aw, you all know that.

  18. Carmen Trutanich says:

    Happy 60th BD Ron! Doug Mcintyre this morning admitted he’s a “Greuela-Deville” Supporter as he kissed up to Windy as knowing her husband “for years now!” That’s a conflict of interest! KABC should recuse Doug off his show till May 21rst as he is biased due to his hope of getting back to work for the studios! Jesus, everywhere you go someone is trying to put another feather in their own cap! I demand Kevin James be installed as moderator immediately, he’s the Voice of the People! So am I! I need your vote!

    • Rita-of-Sunland says:

      Yeah, I heard Doug this A.M. as well re: the weasel-faced Wendy. Ever notice whenever she’s lying BIG TIME her voice gets all thin and squeaky? Gee, come to think of it, Greuel’s voice is ALWAYS thin and squeaky.

  19. Pick a side says:

    Three cheers for Glendale. Ron, please keep us posted as to what we can do to help support the gutsy city manager of Glendale. And thank YOU for this great column.

  20. Doug did not come out and endorse Wendy, however he has never openly criticized her as he has with other council members or elected officials in the city or the county – and God knows she helped enable them.

    At Wendy’s request, he agreed to question Garcetti about his Measure B council vote ploy. Hey, Wendy was as big a supporter of B as anyone! You would think Doug might have delved into it for a bit.

    Will Doug allow Garcetti to ask a comparable question?

    One thing no moderator or reporter has asked Wendy is to describe her outside “executive” experience with Dreamworks. She keeps falling back on that, but she served in a very limited capacity.

  21. anonymous says:

    Ron , your favorite subject is in the news again. Thank Wendy!

  22. Well said re: Doug Mcintyre—he does seem biased for Wendy and her fat cats at Dreamworks! Doug dreams of the day he’ll be allowed back on the backlot making tv shows! Unfortunately, the only backlot in Doug’s future is mowing the backyard lawn!

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