When PG&E’s top executives head in to work at the company’s historic General Office Building Complex in downtown San Francisco, they likely take for granted the fact that all of their lights will turn on, their equipment will power up, and their offices will be climate-controlled.
But they probably don’t often stop to think of the dedicated IBEW 1245 members who work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year in order to keep the high-rise facilities up and running.
“We have 12 people on staff in this department that are responsible for the maintenance and operations of the whole general office complex, which consists of the corporate headquarters at 77 Beale St, the administrative and clerical offices at 245 Market, and the data center, telecom and power control at 45 Beale St,” explained Critical Facility Technician Gary Maschio, a 38-year member of IBEW 1245 who also serves on the union’s Executive Board. “And we’re four people short, so our challenge is trying to take care of all the day-to-day tenant tags … while also maintaining all the equipment here.”
Facilities Management Operating Clerk Wes Miller agrees that the short-staffing effects the entire team, but he manages to juggle his many responsibilities with relative ease.
“I help out with the facilities management requests, I might dispatch the tags for the technicians, and I do follow-up phone calls on the work requests,” said Miller. “I also do invoices, and get the bills paid for the entire PG&E territory. So anywhere the company is getting water service, trash service– even electric in the areas where they have different electric providers, we pay those bills.”
Facilities management isn’t the only General Office department with Local 1245 members. According to Local 1245 Business Rep Gerald Williams, the union also represents telecom technicians who work on the telecommunications system within the headquarters, troubleshoot and maintain the company’s PBX internal phone line, and set up new user workstations within the building.
Down in the garage, another small but mighty group of Local 1245 fleet mechanics maintain and service PG&E’s company cars, including many of the new clean fleet vehicles.
And at 245 Market, a team of Local 1245 members in the reprographics department keep PG&E’s print shop humming with some remarkably sophisticated equipment.
“It’s a one-stop shop. Pretty much anything that can be printed, we can do here. Plastics, aluminum signage, banners, posters, cling-ons, all that stuff. Sometimes we do things that even amaze us, because we’ve never done it before,” said Day Shift Lead Forrest Ebert. “The biggest challenge we face is getting the work to the client in a timely manner with such a small staff. We used to have three shifts and 73 people, now we’re down to about eight people and two shifts. We’re doing a lot more, with a lot less people.”
Dedicated to this Union
The Local 1245-represented work groups at the General Office may be understaffed, but what they lack in numbers, they more than make up for in union pride.
Ebert, who has been with the company for 28 years and has worked in an array of different departments, appreciates IBEW’s long-standing commitment to safer workplaces.
“I like that the union is working to make sure our safety and training is up to what it should be,” he said.
Gary Maschio’s face lights up when he talks about Local 1245.
“I could go on forever about the union. The union provides great benefits, security, great paying jobs, not only in this department, but system-wide,” said Maschio. “I’ve been a shop steward for 35 years. I am proud to work for 1245, I’m dedicated to this union.”
Hi colleague Wes Miller shares his enthusiasm.
“I love the union. This is my first time working in a union [environment]. There are a lot of benefits as far as dealing with management – Gary has actually represented me a couple times as my shop steward,” said Miller. “At my old job at the car dealership, they could just let you go whenever they want … but with the union here, there are steps and processes that the company has to follow.”
–Rebecca Band, IBEW 1245 Communications Director
Photos by John Storey