“Last week, IBEW International announced an agreement with Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) and International Union of Operating Engineers (OE) for joint construction of utility solar clean energy projects (IBEW, IUOE, LIUNA Sign Historic Three-Union Solar Agreement).
“This national agreement is good for the house of labor and the continued growth of utility-scale solar power in the nation, but it is VERY important to understand this agreement does NOT apply to solar projects in California.
“The unions in California, including IBEW, LIUNA and IUOE locals, have a long history of building solar projects. This is because California has been ahead of the curve in building renewable energy projects, and California unions have been ahead of the curve in ensuring that those who perform this work have union representation – along with the training, top-notch wages, benefits and protections that come with it.
“In fact, back in 1996, California unions formed a coalition, California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE), to advocate for these projects to be built union. CURE is a coalition between the California State Building Trades and the California Utility Workers (CUE) (which formed in 1994 during deregulation of the California electricity industry to protect 1245 members’ work). IBEW 1245 is a founding member of both CUE and CURE. Nearly a decade ago, CURE negotiated a landmark five-craft project labor agreement to build solar renewable energy projects, and has been negotiating those PLAs with project developers ever since.
“Local 1245 (and all IBEW locals in California) continue to make our voices heard to ensure that the work needed to meet California’s clean energy goals will be done by our uniquely skilled IBEW members. This year, members from 1245 and other IBEW locals appeared before the California State Licensing Board to explain why only licensed electricians should be eligible to install battery energy storage systems. Local 1245 and CUE also sponsored SB 410 (Becker), the ‘Powering Up California Act,’ which requires utilities to upgrade their electrical distribution system to meet California’s clean energy goals, translating into billions of dollars of investment into PG&E’s distribution system, and more work for IBEW members.
“The national agreement announced by President Cooper between International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, The Laborers International Union of North America, and the International Union of Operating Engineers is an important step forward on the national level. But we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that Local 1245 has long been a leader in the clean energy space in California, and continues to advocate for policies and agreements that ensure that the green jobs of today and tomorrow are high-quality, IBEW jobs.”