For over a year, the IBEW 1245 organizing team has been hosting monthly meetings for PG&E retirees from northern California. Led by Staff Organizer Fred Ross, the group has grown to upwards of 30 retirees, who have enjoyed gathering at the Hall, sharing their personal updates and learning about the latest new from the union, especially updates on the PG&E bankruptcy. Guest speakers have included Business Manager Tom Dalzell, Senior Assistant Business Manager Bob Dean, Communications Director Rebecca Band, and staffers Doug Girouard and Hunter Stern.
Due to the coronavirus, these monthly meetings are now being held virtually, using web conferencing software. On Thursday, July 9, more than 25 retirees — including several from Nevada, who joined the CA retirees for the first time — held their monthly meeting online. Business Manager Tom Dalzell gave an overview of the state of the union in the times of coronavirus. He reviewed three major union victories over the last three years, including Question 3 in Nevada; the series of legislative victories in California on issues pertaining to wildfires, the PG&E bankruptcy, and line clearance tree trimmers; and PG&E’s emergence from bankruptcy.
Dalzell also took time to recognize the Nevada retirees (several of whom were on the call, including former Business Representative Randy Osborn, Ron and Vicky Borst, Rita Weisshaar, and Tom Bird) who were instrumental in the fight for retiree medical at NV Energy from 2009-2012, underscoring the significance of the organizing program that grew, in part, out of that fight, leading to 1245’s series of big victories. He also recognized the 24 retirees who participated in IBEW 1245’s state lobbying efforts at the state Capitol last year to win historic legislation. The solidarity was palpable.
Former IBEW 1245 leader of the NV Energy fight, Tom Bird, who is the currently serving as President of the Nevada Alliance of Retired Americans (NARA), spoke about building retiree committees across Nevada. Rita Weisshaar shared the successful electoral work in the Nevada Primaries and the work already underway in anticipation of the General Election in the fall, most of which will be via phone banking, texting, and other creative means of outreach. We also lifted up a few members who are currently fighting COVID-19 and took a moment to remember retired brother Don Moore, a former 1245 Unit Chair, who passed away due to complications from the virus.
–Eileen Purcell, IBEW 1245 staff organizer