After many months of lobbying and collective action on the part of IBEW 1245 and its members, Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 1090 (Monning) into law. This top-priority piece of legislation will require the CPUC to restore the key components of the original Diablo Canyon Power Plant Joint Proposal Agreement, including the 25% retention bonus. SB 1090 will protect our members at Diablo Canyon, as well as the surrounding community, as the plant transitions offline in the next seven years, and will also ensure that there’s no increase in greenhouse gas emissions to come as a result of the loss of the GHG-free power generated at Diablo.
IBEW 1245 has been working on this initiative for years, ever since PG&E originally announced its intention to shutter Diablo Canyon as early as 2017. Together with our organizing stewards and members from Diablo Canyon, we made a massive show of strength at the Capitol, and succeeded in postponing the closure until 2024/2025, allowing more time for a safe and secure decommissioning process.
In the summer of 2016, we joined together with local stakeholders, environmental groups and the company to negotiate a Joint Proposal Agreement that included a 25% retention bonus to keep the highly skilled and trained nuclear power plant workers on the job during the decommissioning process. That proposal also included funding for the local community in San Luis Obispo to offset the millions in lost tax revenue when the plant closes, as well as a guarantee that all power used to replace the loss of generation from Diablo Canyon will be greenhouse-gas-free.
In early 2018, following a decision by an administrative law judge that sought to slash the major elements of the joint proposal agreement, the CPUC issued a revised proposed decision, which cut the retention bonus from 25% to 15%, and also made additional unilateral changes to the other key items in the proposal.
We were devastated by this announcement, but refused to take it lying down. Instead, we began talking with state legislators from San Luis Obispo county about crafting legislation to require the CPUC to restore the terms of the original agreement. Our message resonated with Democrats and Republicans alike, and under our tutelage, State Senator Bill Monning (D) and Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham (R) sponsored and introduced the bill we had proposed.
Some pundits assumed that the bill would be dead in the water, but we continued to push legislators in Sacramento, sending organizing stewards to testify at committee hearings, and lobbying lawmakers directly to ensure the bill moved forward. Thanks to our diligence, along with steadfast support from the bill’s sponsors and Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, SB 1090 passed both the Senate and Assembly on the very last day of the legislative session, with just four ‘no’ votes out of 120 lawmakers – a truly extraordinary and unheard-of bipartisan accomplishment.
As the bill awaited the Governor’s signature, there was some uncertainty regarding whether or not he would sign it, so I took the initiative and personally reached out to Gov. Brown, urging him to sign this important bill into law – and he did.
This monumental achievement could never have happened without the proactive measures that our union took over the past three years. We worked hard, we refused to give up, and in the end, we got the best result possible for our members, our environment and the community. I would like to give special thanks to the members at Diablo Canyon and the organizing stewards who traveled to the Capitol numerous times to speak on behalf of this initiative. Together, we proved that if we can believe it, we can achieve it.
–Tom Dalzell, IBEW 1245 Business Manager