Defending retirement medical benefits
Nevada retirees on March 22 presented Local 1245 with a hand-crafted plaque that expresses their gratitude for the union’s support during a three-year campaign to defend retirement medical benefits at NV Energy.
We dedicate this plaque to the Executive Board, leadership and staff of IBEW Local 1245 in our appreciation from the Nevada IBEW retirees,” said retiree Tom Bird, known to most as T-Bird, in a ceremony at Weakley Hall in Vacaville. Joining T-Bird in the presentation were Nevada retirees Ron Borst, Bob Vieira and Rita Weisshaar.
The company began reconsidering its position on the retirement medical benefit question in October 2012 after three years of protests by the retirees, supported by Local 1245. In presenting the plaque, T-Bird listed some of the highlights of the campaign:
- Multiple rallies in Las Vegas, Reno, and Carson City, and even one in New York City.
- Several trips to the Nevada Legislature and the Nevada Public Service Commission
- Letters to NV Energy’s CEO and Executive Board
- Letters to the editor and full-page ads in the state’s major newspapers
- A radio spot featuring Ron Borst, president of the Reno/Sparks Chapter of the IBEW Local 1245 Retirees Club
- A television ad featuring the late Sylvester Kelley, who was a decorated World War II veteran and Sierra Pacific Power retiree
- A Facebook campaign that attracted an astonishing 50,000 followers
The IBEW Local 1245 Executive Board, leadership and staff can be very proud of its accomplishments, along with the active members and retirees,” said T-Bird, who also acknowledged all the help of the Nevada AFL-CIO, National Alliance for Retired Americans, Culinary Workers Local 226, talk radio supporters and all the citizens who stood with us on Facebook.”
The plaque itself was a work of art, made of walnut from Unionville, NV and carved into the shape of Nevada by Borst. A trophy shop made a brass impression in the shape of Nevada–just in case you were still in doubt about where all this gratitude was coming from!
When we first got into this, we said we got to get the retirees behind us. We can’t do it without the retirees, and we can’t do it without our local’s resolve and financial support,” said T-Bird. At the end of the day this may not turn out in our favor. We don’t know what the future will hold.”
The three-year campaign contained a lot of highs and a lot of lows.
There were times we were happy, the next minute we’d be sad. It was an emotional roller coaster we rode the past 3 years,” T-Bird said.
The retirees acknowledged there will probably be more battles going forward, and that retirees may need to walk the line for sisters and brothers at other Local 1245 employers or other unions.
We don’t want anybody to miss the point. We’re united for a reason,” said T-Bird. This is one battle, and it may be more challenging as we go forward.”