Recently Letter of Agreement 10-36 with PG&E was sent out to approximately 11,000 members to be voted on. There were only 2,561 ballots returned, That’s only a 23% return. Simply put folks, this is terrible. We have to do better than this. In the recent local union elections, 16,563 ballots were mailed with only a 21% return. When 20 to 23 percent of the members are making the decisions for 100 percent of the members something is desperately wrong.
Webster’s dictionary defines the word union as “the state of being united “. We cannot call ourselves united when close to 80 percent of our members are not voting! Brothers and sisters, now is the time to unite. A 21% return shows weakness. It shows that we do not care about our future, our well-being. It tells management that they have the upper hand because they only have to convince 12% of us to vote the way that they want.
We will be working on a new Physical contract next year and dealing with a new administration in the upper levels of PG&E. This administration is not the same family-orientated upper-level management group that we have dealt with in the past. They are main line, corporate America and even though they have told us in the past that their employees are their “greatest asset” they will surely not back this statement up at the bargaining table. Now more than ever is the time to come together and act as one. If we cannot manage this, the term “to divide and conquer” will certainly become a reality that I’m positive none of us desires.
If we continue to get less than a 23 percent return on all ballots we will essentially be letting 12 percent of our membership decide for the other 88 percent of us. If we do not come together and vote in force then we will be sending the message that we are willing to fall in line with whatever the current administration wants or needs. If we are not careful we will find ourselves in the same predicament as our brothers and sisters at NV Energy.
Ron Weakley and countless others worked and sacrificed for the betterment of all local 1245 members. If we continue down this path of neither caring nor being an active member, we will break down over 100 years of formation. This inattentiveness and neglect leads me to believe our brothers and sisters feel they are on a “free ride” and do not have to participate in order to maintain “status quo.” “Status quo” will be the working conditions of the corporations, not the men and women putting their lives on the line every day.
In short, folks, we cannot let the memories of the people who sacrificed so much go by the way side. If Ron Weakly were still alive he would surely be so disappointed in what we are doing with all we have been given.
Laine Mason, PG&E Lineman
Red Bluff, CA