On Tuesday, April 17, the California State Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications took action on two pieces of legislation that could have a significant impact on IBEW Local 1245 members and the communities where they live and work.
Senate Bill 1088 (Dodd) was crafted in response to the devastating wildfires that tore through the state last year. This bill takes a pro-active approach to planning for future natural disasters with bold steps to force the California Public Utilities Commission and investor-owned utilities to re-align their primary focus to their core responsibility – protecting the public’s health and safety. If enacted, this bill would develop a distinct CPUC process outside the General Rate Case on hardening the infrastructure, and the public participation requirements will ensure that all first responders (including firefighters, as well as gas and electric workers, and others) will get adequate input on developing response plans. Read the full bill here.
Senate Bill 1090 (Monning) comes in response to the CPUC’s decision to revise the Diablo Canyon Joint Proposal Agreement that was meticulously negotiated last year. The CPUC reduced the basic retention package for Diablo Canyon’s highly skilled and experienced workers who will play an essential role in ensuring a smooth and safe shutdown of the plant, and also changed several other components of the agreement. If SB 1090 is signed into law, it would restore the key components of the original agreement — including the full retention package, as well as the integrated resource plan (which would ensure that all replacement power that comes as a result of the eventual closing of DCPP would be greenhouse-gas-free), and funding for the surrounding communities to mitigate the inevitable loss of tax revenue. This bill would help to ensure a smooth and safe transition as the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant prepares to go offline in 2024/2025. Read the full bill here.
These two bills are among Local 1245’s top legislative priorities this year, and when then came up for a vote in this important committee, a dynamic group of Local 1245 Organizing Stewards, along with a few members who work at Diablo Canyon, descended on the State Capitol to demonstrate their support and testify on behalf of these two pieces of legislation.
“I was able to stand in front of the committee and express how important [SB 1088] is for the safety of our grid and customers,” said Organizing Steward Evelyn Okoegwale. “I felt like I was speaking for all my union brothers and sisters that could not be there.”
“Speaking in front of the hearing committee to me is always a highlight,” said Organizing Steward Nilda Garcia. “When the members stand up to protect the safety and reliability of the customers we serve and when we back our brothers and sisters, that says a lot about our union. We stand strong and united.”
At the end of the day, thanks in large part to the powerful presence and compelling testimony that Local 1245 members delivered, both bills passed out of committee and will be proceeding through the legislative process.
“Overall, it has been an outstanding and rewarding experience being a part of a win that took part in our state Capitol,” said Organizing Steward Alvin Dayoan.
“The highlight of my day was actually the random people coming up and talking to us in the hallways, or shouting ‘1245’ as we walked by,” said Organizing Steward Jeremy Smith. “It shows that we have not only built but established a strong presence at the Capitol!”
This committee hearing marked the third time that Local 1245 members have gone to the Capitol to address legislators on these key bills since the beginning of 2018.
“Last month, when we were also at the Capitol, lobbying for various bills including SB 1088, we met with Assemblyman Jim Cooper of Elk Grove. As we were finishing up, he told us … our presence is certainly felt by all the lawmakers here, much more so than the suits and higher-ups,” recalled Organizing Steward Kevin Krummes. “The rank-and-file gets people’s attention.”
Local 1245 will continue to work diligently to ensure these critical bills are enacted into law this year.
–Rebecca Band, IBEW 1245 Communications Director