On June 29, 2023, IBEW LU 1245 ratified the new Traffic Control Agreement with NECA. There were 399 ballots sent out to current members working as Flaggers. With a near 88% “Yes” vote, these members will be under their own stand-alone agreement, effective July 1, 2023. This agreement is the first of its kind for 1245’s Outside Construction group, providing articles that directly relate to the work our members perform in this field day in and day out. This agreement will ensure the future success of this work group, adding the potential for our contractors to be competitive on other projects and properties in LU 1245 jurisdiction. There are three new classifications (Traffic Control Trainee 2, Traffic Control Trainee 1 and Traffic Helper) as part of a LU 1245/NECA Traffic Control certification to be implemented in the near future in conjunction with California-Nevada JATC. This program will provide comprehensive training and continue ensuring IBEW members are the best and most well trained in any industry.
1245 is vigilantly fighting to maintain our current work and looking to expand it when we can. We currently have issues with two signatory contractors that are giving our work away to trade unions covered under Project Labor Agreements (PLA). PLAs allow all the unions associated with the Building Trades to work on one project without having typical jurisdictional issues. 1245 isn’t part of the Building Trades, so our work is separated from the project with a side letter. In one case, the contractor signed the side letter carving out IBEW 1245’s work, but then gave that work to the non-IBEW contractors. We are fighting this deliberate violation with grievances, Labor Management meetings, and everything we can do legally.
PG&E work continues to increase slowly for line crews, while the civil crews are booming. We have gone from 322 groundman and line equipment man calls in the first quarter, to 617 in the second quarter – about twice as many calls this quarter.
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, so operators and skilled civil workers will be in high demand.
PG&E has committed to complete 350 miles of undergrounding in 2023. This work is highly sought-after by other trade unions, and they are doing everything possible (including legislation) to get a piece of this work. We continue to fight to protect our work.
Outside Line projects that were up for bid on NV Energy (NVE) property last quarter have been awarded to the following contractors:
Mountain Engineering Line Construction was awarded a bid for fuse replacements at approximately 700 locations on NVE property at Lake Tahoe. They also continue to work on a pole replacement project on the Incline 4100 circuit that includes installing new tree wire in some locations as well.
Wilson started a project in Carson City area off highway 50 that consists of approximately 9 miles. The project is currently on hold for the time being due to some loading issues on the circuit. The job is expected to continue in the fall.
Titan continues to do the streetlight replacement project in the Reno area that is expected to last through the end of the year.
Summit Line Construction will be finishing the second half of their project for NVE in the Carson City area that is expected to last approximately two months.
Wasatch received the three-year contract on NVE property to supply all supplemental dock linemen to support NVE crews (which continue to be shorthanded). They also were awarded all the dock crew working on NVE property as well with the same 3-year contract. The supplemental dock hands are spread all throughout the territory — which includes Reno, Carson City, Yerington, Winnemucca, Elko, and Fallon — working on both distribution and transmission. The dock crews are spread all throughout Northern Nevada and Lake Tahoe. These crews are doing mostly fire hardening work throughout the entire system. Wasatch also supports NVE with supplemental Sub Techs that work with the NVE crews daily to support the shorthanded crews. There are approximately ten Sub Techs. On Liberty property, Wasatch continues to support both North and South Lake Tahoe with numerous crews on fire hardening projects.
New to the area, Mass Electric Construction Company has a project approximately 30 miles east of Reno at USA Parkway industrial park. The project entails building of a new substation near the Google property. The industrial park is one of the largest in the nation and there is much more work to come in this area.
We’ve held six informational meetings for OSL members in Fresno so far. If there is interest, we will continue to have these meetings every other month.
Accidents and Focus Items
We have seen an uptick in motor vehicle incidents (MVI). Multiple cornering incidents have resulted in trucks rolling onto their sides. The majority of these have been attributed to inappropriate speed for the corner and/or conditions at hand. Because our members involved followed the appropriate steps in securing their loads, damage to equipment and material loss was minimal. Additionally, there weren’t any injuries requiring hospitalization after any of the incidents.
However, we have experienced a few equipment related incidents. There was at least one lower-body injury and a few lucky utility strikes. The number of equipment operations occurring in the field is at an all-time high, and with that comes an increase in the chance of accidents. We must implement a proper tailboard and pre-job briefing with our crews and encourage group discussion of WHAT the hazards are and HOW to mitigate them. It is simply irresponsible to have a single individual complete a tailboard and pass it around for signature, without any discussion. Focusing on hazard identification and mitigation as a team will help prevent further issues.
IBEW LU 1245 Safety Director Jody Castro recently led a discussion on suspension trauma and the management of this phenomenon. A person suspended in a vertical position and remaining motionless for more than 30 minutes is at risk of “rescue death” which is caused by an overload of unoxygenated blood volume to the heart, which can lead to heart failure, and toxins produced by the accumulated blood pools in the legs from the suspension and lack of movement. The proposed treatment for suspension trauma is to position the individual in a sitting position, with the upper body supported, for at least 30 minutes before allowing them to lie horizontally. The information leads to the criticality of performing an aerial rescue in a quick and efficient manner!
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 signatory work, please contact your Union Representative. We want to ensure that our members are working in the correct capacities. The IBEW 1245 staff will support our members in any way possible.
We have been getting more involved in community outreach events such as school career days, climbing school visits, and 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 have returned to the dispatch office now that the remodel project is near completion. The improved 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 or illegible, 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.
Second Quarter 2023 dispatch numbers:
- 258 Apprentice Lineman calls
- 1016 Groundman calls
- 406 Flagger calls
- 245 Line EQ Man calls
- 119 Fab Tech calls
- 5 Cable Splicer calls
- 110 Sub Tech calls
- 1499 Journeyman Lineman calls
Total year-to-date calls for 2023 = 3,658
We currently have 202 on the Lineman books and 856 on the Groundman books.
LaborPower Mobile App
IBEW Local 1245’s LaborPower app allows members to check their position on the books, update contact info, pay dues, and more. You can find it in the app store of your mobile device.
We are currently waiting for 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 to be performed to ensure compliance with 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 monthly for as long as we must continue to deal with these issues. Everyone needs to stay focused on safety and quality; there is no room in this industry to work unsafely 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) and has started the interview process. If you turned in an application, you should be receiving a call to set up a date and time for your testing and interview.
Current apprentices report as of July 6, 2023:
- 606 outside line apprentices registered in the Cal/Nev JATC program
- 0 traveling apprentices in Cal/Nev’s jurisdiction
- 233 apprentices working out of Local 1245
- 256 working out of Local 47
- 44 working out of Local 396
- 14 unemployed
- 18 suspended, 19 on medical hold and 20 on a leave
- 125 apprentices graduated to Journeyman Lineman in 2023
- 34 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 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 at 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 for Groundmen and Line Equipment Men. The plan is to hold classes monthly for the next several months to make sure everyone interested 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-served 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 injured workers fund as of May 31, 2023 was $1,040,236.32. In the three months prior, the fund paid out $105,000 in disability payments.
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 this quarter:
California Outside Line Construction Agreement:
- Straight Arrow Traffic Control, Inc.
- High Performance Pipelines Hydrovac Inc.
- Badger Utility Solutions LLC
- Ample Electric, Inc.
- PDB GridWorks, Inc.
- TP Corrosion Inc.
- Agostino Utilities, Inc.
- Geotechnical Supply Company, LLC
Gas Inspector Agreement:
- Subterranean Consulting Group
- KLE Field Services, Inc.