Joint Statement by Board of Water and Power Commission President Mel Levine and LADWP General Manager Marcie Edwards Regarding IBEW Demonstration
The foremost responsibility of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and its nearly 9,000 employees is to provide reliable and safe water and power, and to be responsive to our customer-owners’ needs 24/7, 365 days a year.
With this in mind, we took steps in advance of the June 17th demonstration to communicate to our employees that while they have the right to assemble, they have the responsibility to do so in accordance with established workplace rules. This includes requesting time off, or participating in activities on their personal time, such as during their lunch or break. These rules protect our employees’ rights, while ensuring that the primary responsibilities of the Department continue to be met.
The Board of Water and Power Commissioners and LADWP management strongly support programs to keep our employees well trained and safe while they work in what is for many of our frontline crews, high-risk conditions. To support this commitment, the LADWP spends in excess of $117 million of its over $4 billion annual budget annually to pay for training and other safety programs and measures. A relatively smaller amount, approximately $4 million, has been transferred annually to joint trusts that are co-managed by IBEW and LADWP management representatives to provide for safety and training coordination and to ensure that those needs are being met collaboratively.
All of LADWP’s investment in safety and training, including through the Trusts, are made using money entrusted to us by our customer-owners in return for the water and electric services they receive. They are public dollars, which require public accountability. Any assertion that the Department or the Board is less than fully committed to the collective bargaining process or to the very favorable agreement reached last Fall on LADWP pensions and salaries, which will result in substantial long-term savings to our customers, is entirely false and merely an attempt to distract from the central issue at hand – transparency.
We remain committed to meeting the safety and training needs of our employees and to the spirit and intent with which the Joint Training and Safety Institutes were established. We encourage IBEW Local 18 to release to the City Controller the financial records that were requested nearly a year ago so that we can move forward together in the interest of our customers and our employees.
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