IBEW Local 1245 will not challenge the results of the union election at Calpine’s geothermal plant at the Geysers.
The final vote, tallied on Jan. 26, was 124 “no” votes and 70 “yes” votes. Twenty-one challenged ballots were not counted in the final tally. They were set aside based on claims that they were not eligible voters.
Management’s decision to force employees to attend mandatory meetings with union busters and to not allow union representatives on site compromised the workers’ right to a free and fair election. Management and the busters waged a classic smear and disinformation campaign.
Workers have been seeking union representation after a number of takeaways, including reducing sick leave and medical benefits, coincided with skyrocketing pay for Calpine’s executives. The workers continued their campaign for unionization despite Calpine’s hiring of a “union avoidance” firm, The Alignment Group, and multiple visits to the plant by Calpine CEO Jack Fusco.
Workers sought representation to achieve a place at the bargaining table and to have a meaningful say in decisions that affect everything from compensation to safety and working conditions.
“But fear won the day,” said Mike Farmer, a leading member of the 25-member organizing committee. “Even so, we proved that far more than a handful of our co-workers support the union.” The unionizing effort caused Calpine executives to make multiple trips from Houston, Texas over the last several months.
“These workers waged a courageous battle and against all odds and a stacked deck,” said Local 1245 Organizer Fred Ross.
During the campaign, Calpine workers gained support from fellow union members throughout the state. They rallied at the NLRB office in San Francisco, the Calpine office in Sacramento and met with Gov. Jerry Brown. To learn more about the campaign visit www.calpineworkerstogether.com.