OPALCO offices will be closed on Fridays beginning January 5th and open hours are extended by 30 minutes Monday through Thursday. The majority of OPALCO staff are part of the IBEW-77 bargaining unit and a new contract was approved on December 29, 2023. The negotiated terms include wage increases to keep up with industry norms and a new 9/80 40-hour work week schedule. Bills paid on or before the due date through OPALCO’s dropboxes will be processed on time, regardless of office hours.
Staff will work nine-hour days Monday through Thursday, plus an eight-hour work day one Friday (to catch up on internal tasks) and take the alternating Fridays off each month. The new schedule equates to a 40-hour work week for all employees.
Contract negotiations have been underway for months with a majority vote closing the deal on December 29th. Utility workers are in high demand in the region and nation and wages are on the rise to attract and retain qualified workers to run the complex electrical systems – especially for line workers. OPALCO must remain competitive to keep our crews in San Juan County. With high housing costs and the remote nature of island living, it’s very difficult to hire qualified utility workers.
OPALCO provides living-wage jobs with health and retirement benefits to 49 employees on Orcas, San Juan and Lopez islands. OPALCO’s Apprentice Program hires and provides on-the-job training for entry level line workers with a strong preference for local candidates. Currently, the program is full with four apprentices and all but one were raised in San Juan County. For career openings, go to: www.opalco.com/careers.
Since COVID-19, traffic into OPALCO offices has slowed and the majority of transactions and information can accessed online at www.opalco.com. There are dropboxes at each office for bill submittals and bills may also be paid online through SmartHub – or via SecurePay over the phone.
The OPALCO team thanks its members for their patience as we all adjust to the new schedule.