NV Energy retirees and employees turned up the heat on the utility with full-page newspaper ads and a door-to-door campaign warning the public about impending service cuts.
An ad published Jan. 14 in the Yerington-area Mason Valley News accused NV Energy executives of pushing massive service cuts “while fattening their pockets with record pay hikes.” NV Energy employees and retirees planned to fan out across Yerington on Saturday, Jan. 16, for a door-to-door canvass of the community.
Similar ads are scheduled to appear next week in the Tonopah Times Bonanaza and the Hawthorne-area Mineral County Independent-News. Campaign organizers said they also intend to send letters to all the citizens of these two communities warning of the service cuts.
The utility confirmed to the Mason Valley News this week that it would relocate the area’s only electric line crew to Carson City at the beginning of February. A company spokesperson said a troubleman “in most cases” could handle a downed power line without assistance from a line crew.
“In most cases, the troubleman can go back up and do it without a crew,” company spokesperson Faye Anderson told the Mason Valley News.
Local 1245 Business Rep. Mike Grimm disputed this assertion, noting that a troubleman could usually deal with problems on a service line between the pole and the customer’s house, but that a downed high voltage line required a line crew. Asking a troubleman to perform that work would violate company safety rules, possibly endangering the safety of the employee and the public, Grimm said.
After Feb. 1, according to the company plan, the closest line crew for Yerington will be located in Carson City, over 60 miles away.
IBEW has been in negotiations for a new labor agreement with NV Energy since last July, during which the company has insisted it will slash or eliminate health benefits for current and future retirees. In December, religious leaders in Nevada took out a full-page ad in many newspapers calling on the company to honor its promises to retirees.
NV Energy employees and retirees, along with religious leaders, have scheduled an Interfaith Rally for worker justice on Thursday, Jan. 21, in Reno. Active employees, retirees, and members of the community have been invited to attend.
The rally will be held at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, 780 Del Monte Lane, in Reno, from 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Other actions are planned for the near future, according to the union.