On Nov. 27, a unit of PG&E fixed wing aircraft pilots voted Yes to join IBEW Local 1245. The election, which was administered by mail-in ballot, resulted in a 7-1 decision for union representation. All eight pilots returned ballots.
The pilots work within the Aviation Services department, which is part of Gas Operations at PG&E. They each perform one of two roles at the company: operating either jet passenger flights or gas pipeline patrol flights. The group wanted to address a number of issues in collective bargaining, but with few represented classifications they could easily compare themselves to, the organizing committee faced a unique challenge.
“I found the most significant obstacle to organizing was being able to effectively communicate the roles of unions [to my colleagues],” explained Gary Major, who was one of the first pilots to reach out to IBEW with interest in organizing.
Major drew upon his experience as a representative with an airline pilots’ union, as well as guidance from our staff, to find examples in the PG&E contract of how IBEW has tackled problems similar to their own. For more unique issues, the organizing committee and 1245’s staff met a number of times to brainstorm potential solutions.
Now that the election is over, the group will meet with Local 1245’s staff to form their bargaining committee and begin drafting their first proposals. The issues they wish to address are related to scheduling inconsistencies, discipline and evaluations, and disagreement with management over the scope of job duties and assignments.
–Rick Thompson, IBEW International Organizer