Work outlook continues to be strong, but we are beginning to see a slow-down as we approach the end of the year. As the utility is looking to save money, they are shifting a lot of the work that can be shifted to the internal workforce. This includes a few different work types and inspectors. Things typically slow down as we approach the holidays, and November is when we anticipate seeing the biggest reductions until 2023.
As previously reported, system hardening will be around for years to come, and one of the biggest initiatives is the massive undergrounding work that PG&E announced last year. This is a major shift in the type of work we see here, and operators and skilled civil workers will be in high demand. PG&E has committed to 175 miles in 2022, and they are on track to get there with a majority of civil work for this first 175 miles completed.
Over the last three months, outside line contractors have had no less than 10 vehicle rollovers, including one that involved a third-party fatality. Most of these rollovers were caused by brake failure due to overheating. This is typically due to inexperienced drivers and/or lack of experience driving down steep grades. When driving down grades, please consider using low range 4×4, the lowest gear possible, exhaust brake, and stopping to let the brakes cool before continuing your drive. Most automatic transmissions in bucket and line trucks will automatically up shift when going down grades (to keep the motor from over revving). Please look out for one another by confirming that you and your crew know the braking system on the truck and trailer you are driving.
IBEW Local 1245 is working with NV Energy to establish a worksite agreement for the GreenLink projects, ensuring this work will all be done by IBEW hands. There are two separate sections of this project with different start dates, however all the contractors bidding this work are required to bid both projects at the same.
GreenLink West is 350 miles of 500kV transmission line that starts in Las Vegas and ends in Yerington. The West section will be the first to be built — projected to begin in 2024 with a planned in-service date of December 2026. There is already a Project Agreement on this section. Typically, with projects that transverse over multiple local jurisdictions, the agreement and package comes from the local with the most miles of lines. In this case, Local 396 has the majority of this West line. For this section only, Local 396 will be the dispatch point. IBEW Local 1245 and 47 members who have book 1 status at home will be granted Book 1 status at 396 for this project.
Greenlink North is composed of a 500kV line from Ely to Yerington as well as three 345KV lines from Yerington to Reno. The North section is 100% in 1245’s jurisdiction, and the California Outside Line Agreement will be used for this project. We are working to finalize the Project Agreement for this section.
These projects — plus the SWIP north 500kV line (if approved) from Ely to Midpoint Idaho, which is also under a project agreement — will ensure years of transmission work for our members.
At the time of this writing, we have a couple different OSL contractors doing work around the Lake Tahoe Basin (Wasatch, Summit) along with other crews spread out throughout eastern Nevada (Wasatch and Sturgeon). Most of this work consists of fire hardening, pole replacements and reconductors. Bids put out for future work are being awarded to contractors that have not been in the area prior (Wilson). Along with the work that NVE has, Liberty Utilities has also kept OSL busy with many projects. Most of the work on Liberty property is going to Wasatch.
On the second Tuesday in September, we held an Outside Line informational meeting in Fresno. We booked a room at Round Table Pizza that would hold 50 people. To our surprise, we had over 60 members in attendance. The room was too small, and we had members sitting in the main dining area trying to listen to the information being discussed. Our next meeting will be held at the local bowling alley which has a larger meeting room. Ben Contreras and Ralph Kenyon were greatly encouraged by the proud union members that attended the informational meeting. We will continue to have meetings every other month as long as the interest is there.
The new OSL contracts have finally been printed are available for distribution. If you are in need of one, you can pick one up at the union hall or reach out to your Business Representative.
Accidents / Focus Items
- We are still having large truck rollovers at the rate of around one a month. Most, if not all, of the rollovers had some type of down grade (hill) that played a role in these accidents. We have been extremely lucky that no one has been seriously injured. If we are unable to stop this, it’s only a matter of time before someone doesn’t make it home. We all need to use and share our experience with our co-workers to eliminate these situations. Things you should know about your vehicle: What kind of trailer brake does the trailer you’re towing have? Have you adjusted your trailer brake before your trip? Does your truck have an exhaust brake? If so, do you know how to use it or where it is? Does the automatic transmission in the truck automatically upshift on a down grade? Knowing the answers to these questions can make all the difference.
- We recently had two induction accidents in our jurisdiction (one was OSL and the other was utility) which both could have resulted in fatalities. We would like to report that the member involved in the OSL the accident is back to work. After the induction shock, the crew jumped into action to rescue the member off the tower and got her much needed medical treatment. Its everyone’s opinion that this member is alive because her crew held good tailboards that included an emergency action plan daily. We always learn things after accidents and PG&E is currently reviewing the grounding manual for transmission work.
- With the outlook of more and more undergrounding over the next generation, we need to be focusing on proper shoring/sloping, monitoring of air conditions, and keeping aware of moving equipment. Crews that are working on OH and UG projects should take an extra minute to ensure they are following all safety procedures.
- With the holidays around the corner, keeping the task at hand as a priority can become a challenge. Work to identify and correct those check-out moments, whether it’s a fellow member or yourself.
- A recent event that occurred in our jurisdiction involved a transformer falling from a pole, due to improper rigging. This is a major black eye to our work group. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured
- Days are getting much shorter. Daylight-savings time change also means a change in times that car crashes (fatal and non-fatal) occur. During the summer months, most fatal crashes occur after 8 p.m. During the fall, that changes. Fatal and non-fatal crashes move into the 4 – 8 p.m. time slot. With this time being the most frequent that work is wrapping up, take a moment to review the risks of the road.
We have been getting more involved in community outreach events (school career days, climbing school visits, Labor-festivals). If you have any events that would benefit from discussion opportunities within the IBEW, please reach out.
As of July 5, IBEW 1245 office hours have been changed to 7am to 4pm and the last application will go out at 3:30pm. The dispatchers are back to the dispatch office now that the remodel project is near completion. The new dispatch lobby will aid in faster signing and processing of paperwork. A few items will be completed over the next couple of months. We will be adding monitors to show open calls and a kiosk to fill out applications.
Currently, when arriving at the union hall, you will fill out a half sheet of paper that includes your name, email address and phone number. Please write clearly, as that is the only way to get your application to you. If your information is incorrect, it will delay your re-signing. When uploading your documents, please make sure you are sending us the most current and valid information. Please do not re-enter Dispatch until you receive an email to do so. If you have any questions, please call our main office number 707-452-2700.
LaborPower Mobile App
IBEW Local 1245 has a Labor Power app which will allow members to check their position on the books, update contact info, pay dues, etc. You can find it in the app store of your mobile device.
Red Books / Contracts / Safety
The Red Book Subcommittee met in September on the direction of the Joint IBEW / NECA full Committee to review and make suggestions for changes stemming from recent recommendations. Most of the suggestions were addressed and the subcommittee will be presenting to the full committee soon for concurrence. There were a couple of issues that will require a bigger discussion with all the major utilities, namely around grounding of the covered tree wire ,as there are differences of opinions from utility to utility on how this needs be performed to make sure it’s in compliance with the OSHA standards. More to come.
The Local 1245 examining committee continues to be extremely busy dealing with issues related to safety or other wrong-doings by workers in the local’s jurisdiction. This is not a good trend and we as a membership must do better. Let this be a reminder that, when dispatched, all members were provided a copy of the dispatch policies which state that if a member is discharged due to any safety violation, they will be placed on a dispatch hold until they meet with this examining committee which will determine follow up actions if needed. The committee meets the third Tuesday of each month and will meet every month as long as we continue to deal with these issues.
Safety and quality are the two things that everyone needs to stay focused on. There is no room in this industry to work unsafe or perform substandard work that can potentially lead to a safety issue.
Cal Nev JATC
During the April apprentice application period, more than 1,400 applications were completed and moved to the next step of interviews. Since May of this year, we have been conducting approximately 140 interviews per month, and will continue until all qualified applicants are interviewed (as long as there are not a lot of “Cold Apprentices” out of work). Once they are completed, the trustees will gauge the work picture and determine when to open the application period up again. Anyone who is thinking about becoming a line apprentice should monitor the Cal Nevada JATC website for future announcements.
Current apprentices report as of Oct. 4, 2022
- 724 outside line apprentices registered in our JATC program.
- 19 traveling apprentices in Cal Nev’s jurisdiction.
- 227 Apprentices are working out of local 1245.
- 367 are working out of 47, 23 working out of 396.
- 61 are unemployed, 26 are not available to work for various reasons and 9 are on a leave.
- 129 apprentices graduated to Journeyman Lineman in 2022 so far.
- 203 new apprentices indentured as outside line apprentices in 2022.
Apprentice privileges continue to be suspended to journeymen who are involved in unsafe work practices while having an apprentice on their crew. These suspensions are shared across the country to every JATC, as well as every Outside Line local, and won’t be lifted until the Journeymen involved in the incident meet with the trustees of the JATC where the incident occurred. This effects the journeymen’s ability to work, as there are few jobs out there that don’t have apprentices. As a Journeyman Lineman, it is your responsibility to train and mentor apprentices for the future of this trade and make sure they are being taught correctly, with safety in the forefront. Keep this in mind when you have an apprentice working with you.
Competent Person Training
To address and make sure we have the workforce ready to tackle the large amount of undergrounding planned, the JATC will be holding Competent Persons Training classes. The plan is to hold these classes monthly for the next several months to make sure everyone who wants it has the opportunity to take it and receive the certification. We will schedule additional classes when there are enough interested individuals. Once everyone has had an opportunity to take the class and receive the training, this could become a special skill for this type of work. The classes will be held during the week, roughly eight hours long, and put on by United Rental.
If you are interested and want to sign up for this class, visit www.calnevjatc.org. Click on the Web Services tab, then Class Schedule. If you do not already have an account with the JATC, you will need to create one. Class availability is based on first-come first-serve basis.
Injured Workers Fund
The balance of the Fund as of August 31, 2022, was $1,219,448.234. In the three months past the Fund has paid out 53 claims. The Summary Plan Description (SPD) and Application can be found on the union’s website https://ibew1245.com/outside-line-injured-workers-fund/
In the three months past, the following Contractors were organized into Local 1245:
CA Outside Line Construction
- Foundation Power Inc.
- Liberty Electric Line Builders LLC
- Owens Maurer Construction Inc.
- Rising Edge Technologies (California) LLC
Street Light and Traffic Signal Agreement
- Yunex LLC
Construction Coordinator Agreement
- Pro Energy Services Group LLC
- Corrosion Service Company Limited
- Keystone Energy Group LLC