After nearly 40 years on staff at IBEW 1245, including 15 years as Business Manager, Tom Dalzell has announced that he is stepping down from his union leadership role, and formally resigned from his position this morning.
“This is a hard thing for me to do. I love this position, I love this job, and I love this union,” Dalzell said. “But I think the time has come. It’s the right thing to do.”
Dalzell began his union career in 1968, working for the United Farm Workers. In 1972, he joined UFW’s legal department, and in 1976 Dalzell became the first person in California to pass the state bar exam without going to law school.
He joined the staff of IBEW 1245 in 1981, when then-Business Manager Jack McNally hired him as a staff attorney. He represented the union in more than 300 arbitrations, led negotiations at every non-PG&E property at one point between 1981 and 2001, and led every negotiation at PG&E from 2001 until his retirement.
After 20 years on staff, Dalzell was promoted to Senior Assistant Business Manager under Perry Zimmerman in 2001. When Zimmerman retired in 2006, Dalzell was appointed by the Executive Board to the Business Manager position. He was subsequently re-elected five times.
As the head of the union, Dalzell ushered in a series of new programs to increase union power and improve the lives of the members. He created two new steward roles – safety steward and organizing steward – which have transformed the culture of the union. In his final term alone, Dalzell
- led the effort to defeat Question 3 in Nevada, which would have deregulated utilities and spun off generation;
- led the effort in Sacramento to improve training and increase wages for tree trimmers, amounting to a $12-per-hour raise for thousands of members; and
- fought diligently to protect our members during PG&E’s bankruptcy through legislation as well as negotiation, resulting in above-market wage increases, no changes in benefits, no layoffs, and a secure contract through 2025.
In accordance with the IBEW bylaws, the Local 1245 Executive Board has appointed Senior Assistant Business Manager Bob Dean to fill the role of Business Manager until the next union leadership election in 2022. (To ensure a smooth transition, Dalzell intends to continue working full time at 1245 for the time being, just not in a leadership capacity.)
“I’ve never seen someone who can naturally command a room like Bob,” Dalzell said as he recalled the first time he saw Dean stand up before a large group of members. “I said to myself, ‘Well, there’s a future Business Manager!’”
The son of a PG&E lineman, Dean learned about the value of the union at a young age. After ten years in the Navy and a brief stint with United Steel and Shipbuilding, Dean joined IBEW 1245 in 1991 when he hired on at PG&E as a system operator. He worked for the company for 15 years in Pittsburg and at Rock Creek powerhouse before joining the Local 1245 staff in 2006. He served as a Business Rep for Kern Division for five years before being promoted to Assistant Business Manager in 2011, and Dalzell promoted him again to Senior Assistant Business Manager in 2012, a position he held for the past eight years.
“I want to thank Tom for giving me the opportunity to come work for the union, and I’d also like the thank the Executive Board for appointing me to this position,” Dean said. “I believe we have the best staff that we’ve ever had in the hundred-year history of Local 1245, and we’re going to continue to be laser-focused on our mission, which is doing what’s right for our members.”