It’s been an action-packed few months for IBEW 1245, and at the quarterly Advisory Council meeting in October, Business Manager Tom Dalzell caught the 1245 leadership up on five of the union’s most notable successes this fall.
On the legislative front, Dalzell explained how Local 1245 succeeded in passing its two high-priority pieces of legislation pertaining to wildfires and Diablo Canyon. While many Sacramento insiders had assumed that these bills would be dead in the water, Local 1245 doubled down on its lobbying efforts, and subsequently both bills passed with broad bi-partisan support and have been signed into law by Gov. Brown.
Dalzell then explained how the relationships we’ve been building with other IBEW locals by supporting them in their fights proved exceptionally beneficial to 1245 during the 2018 election cycle. 10 different locals from outside the jurisdiction dispatched members and staff to assist with our No on Question 3 campaign in Nevada, which as of this writing, appears to be on the path to victory.
Dalzell gave a shout-out to the 80 gas members who are providing mutual aid in Massachusetts to restore gas for thousands of Columbia Gas customers who were impacted by the series of gas explosions that occurred in September. Companies from all over the country are participating in the extensive effort, but the IBEW 1245 members from PG&E have been recognized as one of the most productive groups.
Dalzell also acknowledged the work that the union has been doing to organize the massive influx of new line clearance tree trimmers that have come in to the jurisdiction as part of PG&E’s wildfire risk reduction initiative. Many of these workers and the tree contractors that employ them have never had any contact with a union before. Getting them signed up with 1245 and teaching them about their new union rights has been and will continue to be a herculean endeavor.
And finally, Dalzell celebrated the union’s successful effort to get the California Public Utilities Commission to adopt a new methodology that levels the playing field for CCA and utility customers. This change addressed the inequity of some energy customers subsidizing others and ensures that utility customers don’t end up paying for CCA customers’ power — or vice-versa.
While these issues may seem unrelated, Dalzell was quick to note that they are indeed connected.
“All of our successes are built around the same idea of thinking outside the box, finding new ways to build power and use that power effectively,” Dalzell told the Advisory Council.
He emphasized the key role that the union’s organizing stewards have played in nearly all of these large-scale efforts. The organizing stewards lobbied aggressively on behalf of the union’s two priority bills. They’re the reason why we were able to call on other locals for help in Nevada, as they have been the ones to go out and support those locals when they’ve needed support in the past – and they also played a huge role in training and leading the other Locals when they were canvassing in Nevada. It’s been organizing stewards doing the bulk of the work with the new line clearance tree trimmers, teaming up with the union staff for pre-dawn organizing meetings in every corner of the service territory. And the organizing stewards have also had a hand in the union’s regulatory lobbying program, attending and testifying at CPUC hearings on more than one occasion.
“We ask our organizing stewards to do so many different things,” said Dalzell. “And they do it all, and they do it so well. They’ve transformed this union.”
He expressed his appreciation for the Executive Board for all that they have done to enable and grow the organizing steward program.
“None of the successes we’ve had would have been possible without support from the Executive Board,” said Dalzell. “Their support has been critical, and thanks to them, we’ve exceeded all of our expectations about what is possible.”
–Rebecca Band, IBEW 1245 Communications Director