Two years ago, IBEW 1245 Business Manager Tom Dalzell invited PG&E CEO Tony Earley to meet with the IBEW 1245 military veterans’ group.
Earley, himself a military veteran, leapt at the chance to meet with 1245 members. He listened to the group’s experiences and shared his own. He also discussed PG&E’s PowerPathway training program for veterans, which, at that time, was largely geared towards the physical side.
It was at that point that PG&E Customer Service Representative (CSR) Vickie Bunag suggested the idea of recruiting veterans into the Customer Service line of progression as well. Dalzell added, “Why not take the work ethic and discipline that military men and women already have, and get them into the contact centers?”
Earley was intrigued. With help from Dalzell and Senior Assistant Business Manager (and Navy vet) Bob Dean, the seeds were planted to recruit, train and place veterans into a training course for customer service work and hire them directly into PG&E’s contact centers in Fresno and Sacramento.
The direct hire component of the program is a key to the program’s success. Last year, 17 veterans participated in the PowerPathway CSR training, where they were trained and placed into good-paying, union CSR jobs with PG&E. This year, 20 veterans took advantage of the opportunity.
On Thursday, September 29, IBEW 1245 Business Manager Tom Dalzell, along with Staff Organizer Eileen Purcell and Organizing Steward Walter Carmier (a US Army veteran), welcomed PG&E’s newest PowerPathway CSR class into the union.
“Just as you experienced comraderie in the military, we try to instill that spirit [at IBEW 1245],” Dalzell told the new Customer Service Reps at the Sacramento Call Center. “We’ve got to watch out for each other, and we need your involvement in the union.”
Walter Carmier invited the group to participate in this year’s 1245 Vets Contingent in the Sacramento Veterans Day Parade. The parade will take place on Friday, November 11. The group will meet up 9:30am at Third St. between “O” St. and Capital Mall in Sacramento. For more information on this year’s Veterans Parade, call Walter Carmier at 916-869-5195.
Founded in 2013, the IBEW 1245 vets group is member-driven and dedicated to supporting veterans as they transition to civilian life. The group’s members work to find unique ways to support other vets, through activities like winter clothing and boot drives, fundraising for local veteran organizations, encouraging union employers to be more proactive in recruiting veterans, or simply listening and offering support to returning veterans, one person at a time.