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Pacific Gas & Electric, California’s private utility company that maintains a monopoly over electric service in the state, let go of thousands of contractors and employees across multiple trades over the last month. 

Union leaders told members that the layoffs were due to overspending, and that as Pacific Gas & Electric, or PG&E, overruns its budget towards the end of the year, the company decided to push back fourth-quarter work into the new year.

Workers let go include vegetation management inspectors, tree trimmers, electrical linesmen, and pole testers — all work that is critical to wildfire mitigation. 

“[We] do annual maintenance to ensure fire safety and have deadlines to get it done,” said a vegetation management inspector in the north Bay Area who requested anonymity. “By pushing back fourth-quarter work, [the crews] are falling behind one to two months.” The delay could be costly: Winter is often the best time to prune trees, when cracks and deadwood are more visible and trees are not active... Read more

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