A dynamic contingent of IBEW Local 1245 members travelled to Portland this Spring to attend the IBEW International Utility Conference. They were joined by IBEW members employed at dozens of other utilities throughout the United States and Canada.
“This conference was a great opportunity to meet our brothers and sisters from other locals within the IBEW family,” said PG&E Materials Handler Lucha Prado. “I had the opportunity to meet people from as far away as Canada and as close as Minnesota.”
The two-day convening featured speeches from a variety of elected officials, union leaders and policy experts, as well as workshops that touched on a number of different topics ranging from the IBEW Code of Excellence, to the energy revolution, to politics and legislation.
But the aggressive attacks on unions via so-called “Right to Work” laws and the Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court case clearly dominated the conference agenda. Many of the speeches and workshops emphasized the importance of a strong and united union to combat these existential threats to our union.
“Multiple speakers stressed how organizing, full membership involvement and participation is key to ensure our success,” said PG&E Customer Service Rep Jerry Perez. “They reminded us that there were many who went before us and gave so much of themselves, and that we should honor their legacy by standing together as IBEW brothers and sisters to further their cause, so we may continue to have the right to a fair collective bargaining agreement, wages, and to the right for a safe work place.”
“I wasn’t surprised Janus was top of the list,” said PG&E Operating Clerk Miguel Pagan. “I’m proud of Local 1245 for proactively grabbing the bull by the horns, what seemed to me to be almost a year ahead of IBEW International.”
“My highlight of the trip to Portland was my conversation with IBEW International President Lonnie Stephenson,” said PG&E Customer Service Rep Julie Gonzalez. “He was praising 1245 for all of the hard work that we do and how he was so proud of us all. The last comment he made is one that I will always remember. His words were ‘1245 has a lot of talent’ — and that we do.”