Former Assistant Business Manager Roger Stalcup was honored by the union’s Advisory Council on July 27 for his years of service to the members of Local 1245.
Stalcup, who attended the meeting by a Skype hook-up, offered a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse at how workers’ rights have been protected by persistent efforts to enforce the labor agreement through the grievance procedure. In particular, he noted a grievance on behalf of members working in PG&E General Construction that went all the way to arbitration.
“PG&E had been contracting out work performed by the bargaining unit in General Construction,” said Stalcup. “The arbitration decision from Barbara Chvany provided language for the union to use to make people’s work lives better.”
Successful arbitration of two other grievances positioned the union to negotiate its landmark joint employer agreement with PG&E.
“We protected our members in contracting areas where most (unions) cannot,” said Business Manager Tom Dalzell, as Stalcup’s image beamed out from a large screen at the head of the Advisory Council’s meeting room in Reno. Dalzell credited Stalcup with shepherding all three of those pivotal cases through arbitration in the 1980s, when Stalcup served as top dog of the grievance procedure—formally known as Secretary of the Review Committee.
“When Roger was on the Review Committee he didn’t settle the case, he settled the issue,” said Dalzell. “Our members have a better life because of the work Roger did.”
First Meeting: 1972
Stalcup is no stranger to the Advisory Council. He attended his first meeting as a Council member in 1972 and reported to the Council on a regular basis during his quarter-century as an Assistant Business Manager. He retired from the union staff in 2008.
Stalcup noted that his son, Daniel, had just been elected to the Advisory Council to fill one of the newly-created “at-large” seats representing PG&E General Construction workers.
One of Stalcup’s signature issues was the creation of better conditions for GC workers. Stalcup, himself a GC field clerk before going to work for the union, well understood the hardships that GC workers endured back in the day. Often working far from home, they had no contractually-protected right to a paid room or meals. Workers often slept in their cars.
“For 25 years we hammered away at the inequities of that system,” said Stalcup, noting that the labor agreement now provides for a room and meals. “Like a lot of things that get done by 1245, it’s a huge impact but little known among the members.”
Stalcup on Skype was missing his trademark shock of wavy hair, but in all other respects the man on the screen was thoroughly Roger—passionate about the union, deeply articulate, a touch of whimsy lurking in his eyes.
As Stalcup watched and listened from his computer in Montana, former Business Manager Jack McNally told the Council about the time he first met Stalcup. McNally was a business representative at the time, and Stalcup wanted him to come to Campbell to discuss some issue.
“Roger was the field clerk there. I don’t remember what the issue was, but Roger had all the facts,” McNally said. Even back then, Stalcup’s prodigious research skills were readily apparent. When McNally became business manager, he assigned Stalcup to handle GC matters, where he “did a magnificent job.”
“I purposely put Roger in a position over the Review Committee,” McNally continued, “because Roger was the most tenacious person I had ever met.” So tenacious, in fact, that “one time the company gave him even more than he asked for.”
“Having worked for 1245 for 30 years it was a most rewarding career,” Stalcup told Dalzell at the close of the call. “I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for anything in the world.”
Dalzell turned the computer camera around so that Stalcup could see the hundred-plus Advisory Council members and guests rising to their feet in a prolonged ovation.