In response to a series of one-sided reports on the Pat Thurston show on KGO Radio, IBEW 1245 member Jerry Takeuchi sent the radio host the following message (reprinted here with permission.)
Pat, my name is Jerry Takeuchi. I’m an employee of PG&E with over 41 Yrs. of service. I work in substations, as an electrician, in S.F and the northern part of San Mateo county. I have listened to KGO radio since the mid 80’s.
The reason for this email is because whether intentional or not, your relentless and incessant excoriation of PG&E, has helped fanned the flames for the public to act in a hostile manner toward us field employees. PG&E employees have been shot at, chunks of concrete thrown the windshields of their service vehicles,verbally abused, refused service at restaurants and motels. This after having worked long hours in making repairs and restoring service. After work, I feel compelled to cover up my work shirt just so that someone doesn’t get into my face while in line at the supermarket.
Let me make it clear that the rank and file employees at PG&E had absolutely no input, as to what business decisions made by top management officers. Each of us were trained to perform specific tasks in the delivery of natural gas and electricity to our customers. Those tasks are expected to be performed proficiently and safely.
PG&E employees are no different than any other members of society. We do not feel that we are above other working class Americans. We have the same concerns as others. Concerns about paying the rent and mortgage. Concerns about being able to provide medical coverage for spouses and kids. Concerns about providing care and comfort for aging parents. We try to play the game by the rules and to be productive members in our communities.
We do not want to see people get hurt. We are not sadistic demons that enjoy our customers getting hurt and inconvenienced .
When the San Bruno explosion occurred and later the massive wildfires, we felt terrible and even ashamed. It was devastating to learn that our customers were killed, burned and disfigured. our customers whose entire homes and family treasures totally wiped out. Many PG&E employees also lived in these areas and suffered great losses.
Throughout the years, numerous PG&E employees have also been killed, burned and disfigured. Spouses never again to return to their families. Make no mistake about it.The generation, transmission, transportation, and delivery of natural gas and electricity is risky business. This process is vital but also extremely hazardous. We all should have known this when the decision was made to work for PG&E. You know what though, someone has to do it.
As I prepare this email, I do it with the comfort that my days as an employee are numbered. I have submitted my retirement to take effect on Feb. 1. I’m throwing in the towel. It’s been a long career filled with controversy but also with rewards. I’ve known some great people at PG&E. I wish the best for the younger workers. When the dust settles who knows what future they will have. The stock saved for their retirement may be wiped out. What kind of working conditions they will have to contend with, once PG&E is restructured.
So Pat, I hope you read this and maybe over the airwave, and maybe even a shoutout for the women and men who drive the blue trucks.