The IBEW represents around 250,000 utility workers at 433 different locals in the United States and Canada – and each year, these members have an opportunity to come together to connect and learn at the annual IBEW International Utility Conference.
This spring, four Local 1245 members — Steve Marcotte, Charlotte Stevens, Isaac Mazon and Mark Makowiecki — attended the 2019 Utility Conference in Detroit, MI, where they were joined by hundreds of other utility workers from every corner of the IBEW’s international jurisdiction.
“Walking into the utility conference, I was in awe over how big the IBEW is. We always see it on a local level, but to see how it works on an international level is amazing,” said Local 1245 member Isaac Mazon, who works for PG&E Fresno Fleet.
The action-packed two-day conference featured a wide range of dynamic speakers, including elected officials and leaders in the energy industry, who touched on some the biggest hot-button issues facing the utility industry, like nuclear power and the Green New Deal.
“The IBEW recognizes the need for a Green New Deal, however the IBEW wasn’t consulted on the current proposal,” SMUD Line Inspector and 1245 member Mark Makowiecki reported from the conference. “The goals, as they were, were overambitious. Whatever the future of the Green New Deal may be, we as the IBEW want to have a say in what is put forth.”
Additionally, attendees had the opportunity to attend workshops on a variety of topics that impact utility employees, from PPE to call center operations.
“I never thought that 90 minutes on FR clothing could be interesting enough not to require a mid-presentation nap. I was wrong,” said PG&E Gas Service Rep and 1245 member Steve Marcotte. “It was well done and presented with a purpose, which is my personal safety.”
“My highlight from the clerical workshop was how one local reintroduced the Code of Excellence to their clerical section to lower absenteeism and remind members of the value and standard that union workers bring to the table,” said PG&E Customer Service Rep Charlotte Stevens.
As usual, our Local 1245 members were among the most outspoken participants at the conference.
“A proud 1245 moment for me was when one of the workshop presenters personally thanked me for the active participation from Local 1245 attendees, who help keep the discussion interesting for all attending,” said Marcotte.
Overall, the 1245 delegation valued the experience.
“It was a pleasure and privilege to represent 1245 in the Motor City,” said Makowiecki.
“Thank you for selecting me to attend the conference,” said Stevens. “I gained valuable information from the experience that I would like to implement at our call center.”
“To know that there are other people as passionate as the ones in 1245 is a good sign that the union and our brotherhood will always be around if we stick together,” added Mazon.
–Rebecca Band, IBEW 1245 Communications Director