IBEW leaders at PG&E faced immediate challenges, including negotiations, grievance processing, and organizing Clerical workers still represented by UWUA in three PG&E divisions. Most urgently, they needed to amalgamate the old craft-oriented Local 1245 and the new industrial-oriented Local 1324.
The IBEW International convention of 1950 in Miami provided a chance for leaders of the two locals to size each other up, including Ron Weakley and L. L. Mitchell. Hurricane King, the most severe storm to hit Miami in a generation, knocked out power during this convention of electrical workers, giving comedians something to talk about.
The two locals were officially amalgamated on February 28, 1951. They included:
- Local 1324 and Local 1245 members at PG&E.
- Members organized by Local 1245 in Sacramento in 1943 as part of PG&E but who were now part of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
- Members organized by Local 1245 at Sierra Pacific Power Co. in 1945.
- Members organized by Local 1245 at the Transit Authority in Sacramento, later known as Regional Transit.
- Members of IBEW Local 50, which represented Bay Area municipalities, the Key System (later known as AC Transit), and all line construction performed by contractors—commonly known as Outside Line.
From its inception, this was to be a large industrial union, spanning multiple employers, whose character and influence were intended to reach far beyond PG&E. With support from L. L. Mitchell, Ron Weakley was named business manager of the new local. But Weakley’s quest for “one union” faced one last test.