This month, I bid a fond farewell to my friends and colleagues at IBEW 1245. My family and I are moving to Portland, Oregon so that my son can start kindergarten up there and we can be near family. While I am very much looking forward to returning to Oregon, I am sad to be leaving such a wonderful organization with a membership that amazes and inspires me every day.
I said my goodbyes during our last Advisory Council meeting in Reno in July. It’s fitting that my last Advisory Council was at the Grand Sierra Resort; it’s a place that holds unique significance for me.
After I graduated law school, I lived in Reno for three years and worked for the federal government. While I lived in Reno, I joined a bowling league for the first and only time in my life; that league was at the Grand Sierra (it was called the Reno Hilton at the time), and our bowling team was called “Major Disaster.” I was the captain of that band of misfits, and I spent most of the day before each bowling tournament threatening/cajoling my teammates just to show up. Not surprisingly, we finished last, the other teams hated us, and most of the people on the team hated bowling. But we had fun nonetheless.
Fast forward a few years to 2008, when I started at Local 1245 as the staff attorney. Over the course of that year, I worked on arbitrations across our jurisdiction and had the opportunity to work with many members of the Local 1245 staff, as well as our army of dedicated shop stewards. I immediately felt part of a team, and unlike “Major Disaster,” this is a team that not only had fun but knew was it was doing — and did it well. “Do good and have fun doing it” is a life lesson that I learned at Local 1245 and will always carry with me, and it’s a lesson I hope to pass along to my son.
In 2013, I was thrilled when Business Manager Tom Dalzell asked me to assume Dorothy Fortier’s responsibilities overseeing the PG&E clerical unit. I learned so much from Dorothy, as well as Senior Assistant Business Managers Bob Dean and Joe Osterlund, and I appreciated their patience and willingness to talk through the issues with me. Through my PG&E assignment, I saw close-up how hard our business representatives and organizers work every day to advocate for our members and educated them on the benefits of union membership. I especially saw that last year, when we visited different clerical headquarters to explain the PG&E Tentative Agreement. I was awestruck by how seriously our staff takes their responsibility to make sure our members can make an informed vote about the TA. And I also remember us having a lot of fun during the down time; I am pretty sure that I have two permanent laugh lines from our time together. But really what impressed me the most was the amount of time that everyone poured into that effort. Whatever was needed of them, they did it without question or hesitation.
I am so happy that Alex Pacheco, our 2010 law student intern, agreed to return to as Local 1245’s staff attorney in 2013. In his three years with Local 1245, Alex has demonstrated that he is not afraid of fighting for what is right, and that he has the ability to think on his feet while maintaining his sense of humor. With those values already instilled in him, and with Tom Dalzell as his mentor, Alex is off to a phenomenal start in his career as a labor lawyer.
Last but not least, I have to thank Tom directly for his leadership and mentorship. As Business Manager, he has led the charge in keeping our members’ collective bargaining agreements in the upper echelon of all labor agreements — even though it has meant that we’ve been in a struggle in one sector or another almost continuously. It is a regular reminder of what labor unions are here for — to take care of one another.
As I look back on these past eight years, I am struck by how many fond memories have and will treasure for years to come. Local 1245 will never be far from my thoughts. See you in Portland!
Senior Assistant Business Manager Jenny Marston ended her tenure with IBEW 1245 on July 29 after eight years with the union.