Even though the IBEW 1245 Veterans Committee has only been in existence for less than a year, the committee of “brothers and sisters in arms” has wasted no time growing and expanding their new program, which is focused on helping vets (both within and outside the union) find quality jobs and get help if they need it.
This month, the committee added three new veterans to their group; Vicki Bunag from Fresno, Alycia Brown from Bakersfield and Chip Chadwick from Reno. The committee came together on September 24 at the union hall to welcome their new members, plan upcoming activities and engage in a unique dialogue with PG&E CEO Tony Earley.
“There is no more natural constituency within IBEW 1245 than veterans,” said IBEW 1245 Business Manager Tom Dalzell as he opened up the veterans meeting. “There is no group within 1245 that is more motivated and service-oriented than veterans. And there is no cause that’s more noble than helping veterans.”
Word about the new veterans committee has been spreading, and when Dalzell told PG&E’s Tony Earley about the group, Earley requested the opportunity to come and engage in an open dialogue with the veterans on ways that the company and the union can work together to further the committee’s primary goal – more quality jobs for vets.
Earley himself is a veteran who served as an officer in the United States Navy nuclear submarine program. He recognizes that vets have many unique skills, coupled with outstanding discipline and commitment, which make them an asset to any workplace. He’s a big advocate when it comes to hiring veterans, both at PG&E as well as at other companies. At the veterans committee meeting, Earley discussed a number of initiatives PG&E has undertaken to help vets in recent years, including PG&E’s Veterans Employee Resource Group and the PowerPathways training program, which has a number of veteran-specific classes to give those job candidates a competitive edge.
“We’ve done a huge amount of veteran hiring over the past three to four years,” Earley told the committee. “I think we owe it to the veterans; they volunteer and serve and we need to make sure that when veterans come out they have a good career so they can support their families. They deserve it.”
Earley and the veterans engaged in a candid and interactive Q&A session, with members of the committee asking specific questions about ways they can help increase the number of veterans hired out of the PowerPathways program, as well as improving opportunities to recruit and hire vets into both physical and clerical jobs at PG&E.
“I’ve been spending a fair amount of time working with organizations that focus on veterans hiring,” Early said. “One of the big problems is trying to link up veterans with companies like ours that have positions for them.” He went on to note, “We’ve been working with the Department of Defense to encourage them to allow recruiters like ours to get on the bases and get access to people before they get out [of active duty] as part of their career development.”
The vets and Earley also had a lengthy discussion about what the union and company can do as partners to spread the message about hiring vets to other employers as well (something Earley has already been doing through the United Way in the Bay Area). By the end of the discussion, Earley agreed to consider setting a new goal for the number of vets hired at PG&E. He also said he would look at the possibility of giving the IBEW a seat at the table in the PowerPathways training and hiring process and expanding PowerPathways to provide opportunities for clerical workers. Earley also said he would consider how to encourage other employers to establish or improve hiring preferences for veterans.
The committee agreed that the conversation was incredibly productive and will greatly improve opportunities for vets looking for work at PG&E and in the utility industry as a whole. They also took advantage of the opportunity to directly hand Earley the resume of a vet who is currently looking for work. “We helped a veteran out today,” said committee member Phil Alleman.
In addition to working directly to help vets, the committee is also seeking new ways to make their presence known within their communities. With Veterans Day just around the corner, the group is busy planning and coordinating “marching contingents” from IBEW 1245 to join this year’s Veterans Day Parades in Shasta Lake, Sacramento and Fresno. All IBEW 1245 members and their families are invited to join the vets for in these marches. To join one of the marching contingents, contact the committee members below:
Phil Alleman 530-410-5175 [email protected]
Mike Grandmain 530-941-7757 [email protected]
Pam Pendleton 310-227-2422 [email protected]
Walter Carmier 916-869-5195 [email protected]
Joe Sanchez 559-264-3262 [email protected]
Vicki Bunag 408-348-2637 [email protected]