article by Rebecca Band
photos by John Storey
What do the California Academy of Sciences, Ross retail stores, the Alpha Omega Winery, St Teresa’s Church and the new BART station in San Bruno have in common? They’re all a little more inviting thanks to high-quality, sustainable lighting designed and assembled by IBEW 1245 members at Borden Lighting in San Leandro.
The 25 workers at the small East Bay shop hand-craft a wide variety of lighting, from industrial and commercial ceiling fixtures to residential floor lamps and extremely high-end custom designs. Quite simply, there’s no light too big or too small for this team.
Local 1245 is pleased to welcome these new brothers and sisters into our local. They were previously members of IBEW 2131, an East Bay manufacturing local that merged with IBEW 1245 earlier this year. Both the workers and the management seem pleased with the result of the merger, as they now have more resources and assistance than they had access to before.
Head finisher Bob Sharp has worked for Borden for 35 years since the age of 19, and has served as shop steward for the last 20 years. He started at Shaper Lighting, and when Shaper’s then-president, Randy Borden, started a new company, Borden Lighting, in 2006, Sharp went over to the new shop. He enjoys working at Borden and particularly his colleagues, but lamented the cyclical nature of construction that has resulted in a handful of layoffs.
Production Manager Barry Gould elaborated, “When construction is flat or down, we follow. And when it picks back up, we’re the last ones to see that work,” since lighting is general done towards the end of construction projects. Gould noted that the construction industry is finally starting to pick back up, and he hopes to see those laid off workers back on the job again soon.
For more photos of IBEW members at Borden Lighting, check out the slideshow below.