Weakley Remembers: Tales from the Early Days of IBEW Local 1245
Editor’s note: Local 1245 founder Ron Weakley, who died in October 2007, loved to tell stories–from the early tumultuous days when the union was being organized, to the sometimes bizarre situations he found himself in during 20 years as the union’s business manager. He asked that these stories not be published until after his death.
Ron Weakley Ron Weakley in 2003 Before ERISA they had different vesting periods (for pensions). ERISA provided you had to vest within 10 years. Well, PG&E, at the time I left, I didn’t have 15 years in. You had to have 15 years to vest. So all I got back was my contributions with no interest. That bugged me. Because they kept that money all that time and got interest off it. So it rankled me.
I figured one of the first things I was going to do was change that. And I did. They started to pay 1% or something like that for the employees contributions. When I started trying to improve the pension they poo-poohed it and said it was none of our business and all that.
But I found out a guy named Grover Tracy, who was a retired Division Manager of PG&E had such a skimpy pension he was living in Laguna Honda, which was an elderly home for the underprivileged. And then I announced, this is how (PG&E) handles employees when they retire! That’s what started to get motion on the pension.
This was in the 1950s. We established a pretty good pension plan–a defined benefit–which is still in effect as far as I know.