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Local 1245 Helps Defeat
San Francisco Power Propositions

January/February 2002 IBEW Journal

A major effort by Local 1245 members played a role in close victories over two ballot questions that would have municipalized San Franciscos power delivery system.

Im very proud of our members for the effort they made, said Local 1245 Business Manager Perry Zimmerman. They proved that our union will not just stand by when our jobs are threatened.

On Election Day, November 6, voters narrowly rejected Measure I, which would have created a Municipal Utility District to include San Francisco and nearby Brisbane.

But it took a close count of absentee ballots to confirm the defeat of Proposition F to create a San Francisco power authority. Proposition F called for the city takeover of Pacific Gas & Electric, which declared bankruptcy nearly a year ago. Proposition F would also have folded Local 1245 members into city unions.

Local 1245 leaders attributed the come-from-behind victory to the hard work of the members, many of whom would have lost jobs or would have been subject to demotions and lost benefits if the measures were successful.

We were three-to-one behind when we got into it, said Assistant Business Manager Jim McCauley. Were pretty proud of ourselves.

Throughout the campaign against Proposition F, Local 1245 members emphasized that the cost of acquiring PG&E would likely increase customer rates and jeopardize service reliability and worker safety. In addition to a thorough grassroots campaign among union members, the public parts of the campaign included placing billboards around town, appearing at news conferences and radio shows, distributing literature and visiting newspaper editorial boards.

McCauley, who coordinated the Local 1245 effort, successfully persuaded members of central labor councils not to endorse Proposition F and Measure I. McCauley said San Franciscos Local 6 was also a key ally. Local 1245, based in nearby Walnut Creek, used the Local 6 union hall in San Francisco for meetings and grassroots coordination.

They loaned us their hall and anything we needed, they did for us, said McCauley, adding that 1245 members used the Local 6 hall for phone banks and meetings before precinct walking.