Raise Secured for Hyperion Crew

Bump in pay ensures more competitive salary

By Robert Fulton

A raise secured for the IBEW 11 members working at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant will help with attracting and retaining talent at the facility.

The Hyperion crew will receive a $5 an hour raise. This bump in pay is specific to electricians working for the L.A. Sanitation Department and is retroactive to January 1. This is in addition to the 22% raise over five years that IBEW 11 members will receive as a result of recent contract negotiations with the city of Los Angeles.

“It’s a huge, huge win for us,” said Luis Arida, IBEW 11’s Civil Service Business Rep. “It sets the precedent for other departments as well. A rising tide is going to lift all boats.”

The work at the Hyperion plant is specialized and the facility has faced challenges in retaining electricians. Often, after two years of training and finally learning the ropes, many workers will leave for the Department of Water and Power and better pay. Once with DWP, those former Local 11 members would then be represented by Local 18.

Simply put, the plant was losing workers and Local 11 was losing members.

“For many years, there’s been a steady bleed of our members that are jumping ship,” said Arida, who likened Hyperion to a training ground for the DWP.

Arida stressed that the new rate along with high voltage bonuses makes the Hyperion wage very competitive.

The Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant sits along the Pacific Ocean near Dockweiler State Beach. It is one of the largest sewage treatment facilities in the world.

Electrical workers at Hyperion perform anything from maintenance to construction, sometimes working with up to 34,500 volts. The plant is open 24 hours a day, with swing and graveyard shifts. Losing power is not an option

Staffing has been an issue. Currently, there are about 30 electricians on site, but up to 50 may be needed for preventative and emergency maintenance.

Richard Gray is an IBEW 11 Shop Steward at Hyperion. He’s worked at the plant for five years and is a 20-year member of the Local. He says trouble shooting is a key skill at the plant, and losing skilled electricians is hard.

“it’s really tough because you finally have a person you can depend on that you feel comfortable with the plant, is knowledgeable, where you could tell them where they need to go what they need to do,” Gray said.

Gray sees the raise as a way to retain that talent.

“It’s important that we continue to keep up so that we can keep the quality people,” Gray said. “A lot of times the quality people are looking for more.”

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