The first quarter of 2023 has been fast moving river of excitement, with record-setting rains and snowfall. The Outside Line members worked long hours for multiple days assisting PG&E in rebuilding the heavily damaged utility assets throughout the service territory. From the high Sierras to the South Bay, the demand for 1245 OSL contractors has been unprecedented. PG&E reached out to its current and new contractors for additional crews, and they also reached out to other utilities to assist (through Mutual Aid) with repairs to the infrastructure. There were a total of 601 crews working on PG&E property, and 295 of them were contractor crews.
When we have a storm event, the union always receives a number of calls and questions from members; during this round of storms, we received a higher-than-average number of questions related to meals. There is a potential for four meals, but there are about 25 different variables that could change that number. Please continue to reach out to your Outside Line business rep for clarity in your specific situation.
With the assistance of the OSL team, 1245 is finally receiving a weekly inspector/crew schedule from PG&E. Having this information has allowed our reps to create a very efficient schedule and allows us to show up for worksite visits in an organic manner.
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 typically see here, and operators and skilled civil workers will be in high demand. PG&E completed its promised 175 miles of undergrounding in 2022, and is committed to complete 350 miles in 2023.
1245 has had a big presence on this side of the hill. Crews have been supplementing NVE and Liberty on storm damage the last couple of months, as well as dock work and the supplementation of hands to help the utilities man their work on a day-to-day basis.
There are many jobs presently out for bid on NV Energy property. Most of these projects are up at Incline Village at Lake Tahoe. One is a 700-location fuse replacement program, as well as a three-year contract for all dock work (including all dock crews and dock hands to supplement the utility company crews) throughout the NVE territory. Bids are expected to be awarded for these projects by mid-April.
Mountain Engineering Line Construction currently has a project that will start in beginning of summer that consists of 139 individual pole replacements and another 40+ poles of line rebuild, with installation of new tree wire on the Incline 4100 circuit that consists of approximately one mile of line rebuild. Wilson has a project out of the Carson City yard on NVE property that will consist of approximately nine miles of line rebuild. Summit Line also has a project on NVE property out of the Carson City yard. Both projects are slated to begin this quarter. Sturgeon has dock crews working out east on NVE property, while Titan is almost completed with their project at Core Rochester Mine located in Pershing County Nevada. They continue to do the street light replacement program out of the Reno yard for NVE as well. Wasatch continues to support NVE and Liberty on numerous different projects, including storm restoration and all the dock work to supplement both utilities. Wasatch also supports the Substation group on NVE property with numerous Sub. Techs supplementing the Substation group as well. The contractor agreed to let 1245 go out and interview one of their line crews on numerous different aspects of the trade. It was beneficial to the hands, and after the day was completed, they were appreciative of the opportunity to get involved.
We’ve held two informational meetings for OSL members in Fresno so far this year. We will continue to have these meetings every other month, as long as the interest is there.
Accidents and Focus Items
We had a rocky start to the year with some basic violations, including wearing harnesses. Luckily, a member was likely saved from severe injury due to the proper wearing of a bucket harness when a tree fell on the truck while aloft. Ensuring that we are holding each other to a high standard of safety will help reduce these issues in the future. “If you see something, say something” is not just white noise.
Since then, the Outside Construction group has been rather quiet on the safety front. We continue to see minor traffic issues as our largest downfall. In addition, we continue to see service connections be an issue. Last year, PG&E issued new marking and testing guidance for service connections that was meant to deal with a rash of damaged customer homes and equipment.
This year our crews have been busy on storm, travelling from the coast to the Sierras, and all in between. Members have been working 7-16’s in order to get power back to the communities impacted. Fatigue and burnout have been a prevalent issue, and should not be discounted. Please ensure that you are focusing on yourself and your wellbeing during these events. Ensuring you are at your best, ensures you are working as safely as possible.
We have seen a large volume of storm calls from multiple contractors, trying to respond to the weather events at hand. With that, it has raised a multitude of questions surrounding meals and lodging. Understanding that there are a variety of scenarios that change the meal requirements, please continue to contact any of the representatives to work through the specifics.
During recent crew visits, I have been ecstatic to see the amount of hands-on learning that I have witnessed. It is refreshing to see our apprentices and groundman being instructed with such a deep explanation behind the task. The education of the next generation is critical to all our success in the future.
We have added a multitude of new contractors. In addition, there are various Joint Trench projects that will be starting in the next few weeks. If there are questions, regarding the contractor doing this work, please contact the Union. We want to ensure that our members are working in the correct capacities. The members IBEW 1245 can and will support any needs at hand.
We have been getting more involved in community outreach events (school career days, climbing school visits, labor festivals). If you have any events that you believe would mutually benefit from IBEW participation, please reach out.
IBEW 1245 dispatch office hours are 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 additional 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.
When arriving at the union hall to sign or re-sign the books, you will be prompted to 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 process. 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.
First quarter 2023 dispatch numbers:
- Appr Lineman calls 121
- Groundman calls 234
- Flagger calls 5
- Line EQ Man calls 88
- Fab Tech calls 42
- Cable Splicer calls 1
- Sub Tech calls 27
- Jry Lineman calls 723
Total year-to-date calls for 2023 = 1,241.
We currently have 306 on the Lineman books.
LaborPower Mobile App
IBEW Local 1245’s LaborPower app allows 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.
We are currently waiting on a meeting with the full Red Book committee to approve changes to the Red Book. Once approved, we will print another batch of books. 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 wrongdoings by workers in the local’s jurisdiction. This is not a good trend, and we as a membership must do better.
IBEW 1245’s dispatch policies state that if a member is discharged due to any safety violation, they will be placed on a dispatch hold until they meet with the examining committee to 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. Everyone needs to stay focused on safety and quality; there is no room in this industry to work unsafe or perform substandard work that can potentially lead to a safety issue.
The JATC received 1,428 completed applications during its most recent application period (March 27 through April 7). OF these applications, 900 (63%) qualified for direct (priority) interview, and 528 (37%) would be non-direct.
Anyone who is thinking about becoming a line apprentice should monitor the Cal Nevada JATC website for future announcements.
Current apprentices report as of April 4, 2023
- 646 outside line apprentices registered in the Cal/Nev JATC program
- 0 traveling apprentices in Cal/Nev’s jurisdiction
- 221 apprentices working out of Local 1245
- 247 working out of Local 47
- 47 working out of Local 396
- 55 unemployed
- 15 suspended, 12 on medical hold and 15 on a leave
- 73 apprentices graduated to Journeyman Lineman in 2023
- 0 new apprentices indentured as outside line apprentices in 2023
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 affects 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 whenever you have an apprentice working with you.
Competent Persons 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 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. 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 a web account with the JATC, you will need to create one. Class availability is based on first-come, first-serve basis.
CPR & First Aid classes are scheduled for the second Friday of every month at the Woodland and Riverside facilities.
Injured Workers Fund
The balance of the Fund as of April 2, 2023, was $1,011,447.49. In the three months past, the Fund has paid out 45 claims. The Summary Plan Description (SPD) and Application can be found on the union’s website https://ibew1245.com/outside-line-injured-workers-fund/
The following contractors have organized with 1245 under the California Outside Line Construction Agreement:
- Alpine Drilling and Construction, LLC
- Alvah Group, Inc.
- Blott Utility Services
- Divergent Alliance
- Heavy Road & Rail, Inc
- ICR Service, Inc.
- kV Power Pacific Inc.
- PraXel Line Services
- Premium Utility Contractor
- Stanislaus River Electric, Inc\