The IBEW 1245 Executive Board and Advisory Council met at the Sunrise Center in Vacaville on Saturday, January 28. They were joined by IBEW staff, and 95 Organizing Stewards clad in bright blue organizing t-shirts and organizing jackets – ready to be sworn in as the Class of 2023.
IBEW 1245 President Cecelia De La Torre called the meeting to order and swore in three newly elected Advisory Council members.
Dean: “The January Storms Were Devastating”
Business Manager Bob Dean commended the extraordinary job by IBEW 1245 members in response to the storms that ravaged California in January. “After 14 years of drought the January storms were devastating,” he said. “Our members gave a phenomenal response; working 30 days in a row – slaying it.” Brother Dean also shared the tragic loss of one member who died and two other members who suffered major, life altering injuries during the storms.
Mountain F. Enterprise employees Edgar Castillo and Jose Hernandez were driving when their 100’ bucket truck veered off the road. The driver, Brother Castillo, was killed; Brother Hernandez, the passenger, survived but suffered major injuries.
In a separate incident, Anthony Macera, a Nuclear Operator who was on his way to work at Diablo Canyon Power Plant during the atmospheric storm event, was involved in a head-on collision and suffered extensive injuries. He’d only been hired six days prior to the accident and as a result does not qualify for FMLA.
Senior Assistant Business Manager Bob Gerstle shared, “Early in my career I was told driving might be the most dangerous thing you do.” Brother Gerstle and Senior Assistant Business Manager Anthony Brown will continue to press for more training. The hat was passed, both members and staff donated $4,000 that will be split between the families. For the first time in its history, PG&E has authorized a vacation sale for the employee of a contractor.
Diablo Canyon Power Plant Extension
Turning to Diablo Canyon Power Plant, Brother Dean affirmed the plant’s life will be extended, notwithstanding bumps in the road. Questions had been raised when it was reported that the federal government had rejected PG&E’s petition. Brother Dean clarified that it simply means PG&E will have to file a new form rather than using the prior one. “It’s more work, but nothing we didn’t anticipate,” he said.
Undergrounding: Defending Our Work
Brother Dean reported that as billions of dollars of work come to California and Nevada as the country invests in infrastructure and undergrounding, there will be more competition for work that traditionally has been the domain of IBEW 1245.
“Everyone is looking at undergrounding because of the billions (of dollars) involved. It’s the most work we’ve ever seen lined up this way. It’s going to take all of us to protect our work.”
TransCanada Going to IBEW Local 77
IBEW 1245 has agreed to transfer members at TransCanada to IBEW Local 77 which is headquartered in Washington. A majority of TransCanada members live in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon with two members residing in California.
Fred Ross Jr. PRESENTE
Brother Dean shared the recent passing of IBEW 1245 Organizer Fred Ross, Jr. Together with the Organizing Team, Brother Ross was instrumental in building the Organizing Steward Program. A service and tribute will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2023 in San Francisco. Fred’s name will be added to the memorial wall at the union hall.
Induction of Organizing Steward Class of 2023
Finally, Brother Dean welcomed the Organizing Stewards Class of 2023.
“Today, as has been our custom for the last 9 years, we are pleased to welcome the 2023 Class of IBEW 1245 Organizing Stewards!” exclaimed Dean. “Our Organizing Stewards are the pride and glory of 1245 across the labor movement: our special forces at the State Capitol, at the bargaining table, in elections that impact our members, at work where they celebrate the union difference and showcase 1245 pride in the community. I want to thank you for your willingness to defend and build our union!”
Organizing Steward Lead Brandon Fosselman addressed the Executive Board, Advisory Council and IBEW staff on behalf of the Organizing Stewards. He electrified the room as he shared the union difference in his life including:
• an uncle who was a union man who guided him after Brother Fosselman’s parents lost their primary home at the age of 16 and who worked his way through school and paid his way through college;
• the same uncle who encouraged him to take the union job at PG&E to secure financial stability for him and his family;
• the opportunity to become a leader through the Organizing Steward program;
• the chance to own a home; and
• the chance to use his voice at the State Capitol to fight for worker protections in the face of PG&E’s bankruptcy.
Brother Fosselman underscored the shoulders we stand on. “Fred Ross, Jr., Eileen Purcell, and the original 28 Organizing Stewards. It’s on us to carry the program into the future.”
To read more about the Organizing Steward induction click here
–Eileen Purcell, IBEW 1245 Senior Advisor/Organizer