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Staff Reports
May 01, 2024


MAY 2024


Well, this month blew by quickly and we are even busier at the Hall.

At Avista Utilities, at the request of the Utility, we sent a wage opener proposal out to the membership which was rejected, even though it had a “me too clause” that preserved retroactive increase should LU 77’s wage opener be voted down. The main reason it was rejected was simply because our membership wanted to send the company a message that we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in LU 77 and do not want to provide any leverage to the Utility. We have sent that message to management and have postponed any further discussions until they are able to meet with LU 77 to get to an increase that both Locals believe will pass with the membership. This agreement expires March 31, 2025 so we will be opening it to bargain a successor agreement towards the end of 2024. Other than that, things are quiet.

At EWEB we are down three (3) Linemen in April alone, one retired and two took jobs elsewhere. That means that we are down a full crew. We are meeting with our LMC to review the LMC Charter on May 2nd. We do have a Shop Steward at Hayden Bridge retiring soon and one in the Electric Department stepping down. That means we have three (3) open Shop Steward positions. If you are interested, please let me or one of the other Shop Stewards know so we can get you signed up for training which will be available in September.

For our Line Clearance Tree Trimmers (LCTT) working on Pacific Power property, things are still busy. At the request of the contractors, we took their best offer out to vote for the membership to decide if they are willing to settle. The package included Gross Wage Increases (GWI) of 4.5%, 6.75% and 6.75% with a 2% increase for Foremen and Journeymen who hold a CDL and a Commercial Applicators License beginning year two. After counting the ballots, the proposed package was rejected by the membership: 77% no, 23% yes. I have reached out to the contractors and requested dates to go back to the table to try to find a way to come to a reasonable agreement. We still have about eighteen outsource crews in the area working for Asplundh and Trees, LLC. We have a Contractor who is telling their employees that if they can take their Oregon Sick time in one-hour increments but must take the entire day off. We feel that this is not in line with the Oregon Sick Leave law. We reached out to our attorney and she advised that we contact BOLI to see if they would advise the employer. We did contact BOLI and their response was that they do not advise employers on how to administer the law unless an employee files a complaint with them. We also have had a member terminated for not wearing their seat belt and had a grievance initiated and are waiting for the company’s response. That being said, I would like to take the time to remind people that they must wear seat belts any time the vehicle is in motion. We also have settled another grievance in the third step about excessive disciplinary action for which two employees will receive three days back pay.

For our Line Clearance Tree Trimmers working for Davey Tree and West Lane Tree on EWEB property, the proposal we sent out has been approved by the membership and the successor agreement has been sent to the International Office for final approval.

For our Line Clearance Tree Trimmers working for Asplundh on CPI property, things are going well. We will be bargaining this one later this year and expect to send out surveys around June.

As Always, Stay Focused and Stay Safe.

Don McElroy



SUB: Had their LMC this month.  Topics included ways to retain and recruit Linemen.  Some ideas included triple time, increased retirement, and wages. 

We have also been addressing management issues in the main office.  We had an open meeting with the GM.  The results of that meeting are to bring back the position of Lead CSR.  This is huge.  This has been a big topic for years.  This Union position has been vacant for over 7 years, and SUB has made it clear they had no intention of filling it.  It seems they have pivoted, and we will be gaining another Union position.

Henkels & McCoy (H&M): Has continued to lay off employees.  A fiber project in northern California is finished, and work seems to be dwindling in the Portland region.  Henkels is a subsidiary of Mas-Tec.  Mas-Tec in the past has been mainly tele data.  We are keeping a close eye on Henkels to see if Mas-Tec starts bringing in their non-union crews.

Lane Electric: We are still gathering information on Lane’s practices on LWOP.  Our attorney believes we already have enough to prove violations, but wants to make sure we are thorough.  Greg Gardner has stepped down as OPS manager.  Once again, Lane has no Ops Manager. They did create a Line Superintendent position, and hired a gentleman from New Mexico.  We believe they did this to pay a lower rate for an Ops Manager, and to eliminate the General Foreman position.  We will probably end up filing a grievance, but have yet to do so.

CPI and Osmose are content currently.

Tom Hutton



Central Lincoln (CLPUD): Currently there is a Lineman position that is opened up to the public for the Florence area. I was approached that the Newport location was going to also have an opening for a Lineman position, as well. I asked CLPUD about this and their response is they are using the apprenticeship to fill the need from within.  Everything seems to be going well. The FR allowance was front loaded for the year from $650 to $750. Which is a plus because of the current clothing contract Central Lincoln has with their vendor.

OUTSIDE CONSTRUCTION: Work picture is really picking up!! 1884 plans for their fire mitigation project are to have 60 crews by August/September. Michel started their BPA project from Oakridge to Lowell. Cache Valley has a large pole package in Crescent City. Yates Line has picked up the dock work in our area and are adding more crews. Not to mention the substation work, that is going to be coming out. Along with future projects like Swan Lake storage facility.

“United we stand”

James Davidson



LU659 Brothers and Sisters, for the month of April,

-Avangrid update: The team did new contract training from I.O. while waiting for management to finish the information request.

-Unfortunately, we lost the Hunter election by a 50/50 tie vote; although the company committed many ULPs, our lawyer doesn’t feel we would have enough to overturn themselves. We hope to keep in touch with individuals and retry in a year if we see support.

-Johnny and I taught our first Comet class to the 4th year Apprentices.

-LU 659 hosted the Northwest Organizer meeting alongside our Member-to-Member Blitz, which I feel was a success. We were able to hit close to 500 doors in two (2) evenings and had many good conversations with members.

-Crater High School visited our training center with around 30 students. We had a few building trades members speak with them, and then they did some conduit bending in the lab with instructor Kerry.

-Eric and I attended the LU 46 Member-to-Member Blitz. This was a good use of the NWO (Northwest Organizers) time sense, as their limited energy unit is on strike, and we were able to support them while picketing. With this, if any other members would like to attend another blitz with one of the organizers, please reach out so, we can make arrangements.

-Don and I are working on organizing a group and will have more information as this progresses further.

-We encourage you to drive individuals you talk with in the field interested in organizing their workplace to visit the new "Need a Union" tab on our website and the "Why Be Union" tab.

-The RENEW program is actively seeking more participants. To enhance participation across all groups, zoom links will now be sent out prior to the meetings. If you wish to be added to the RENEW program text group, please get in touch with Ryan via email or phone.

Lastly, LU 659 and the Southern Oregon Speedways car show was a success. We had close to 30 cars show up, mostly race cars.

We also attended the Careers in Gear career fair at the fairgrounds. We were able to speak to a wide range of students from the surrounding areas in one location.

In solidarity,

Ryan Smith

Membership Development Rep.


(541) 326-9185

Good afternoon, brothers and sisters. April has been another busy month, with lots happening. Monique, from NECA, and I finally got a license enforcement meeting set up here in southern Oregon for June 5th. This meeting will address the lack of enforcement we have seen in southern Oregon since Mike Weaver's time. If anyone would like to have a voice at this meeting, please let me know.

Things are starting to pick up in southern Oregon. A few members went to work with Northern Lights this month, which was awesome to see, and it sounds like there are going to be some calls coming soon for PEC in Lakeview, which is fantastic news.

A quick reminder for those of you who may be new or have forgotten: as part of our agreement in our CBA, you must show up with the tools listed in our tool list in the CBA. We had our member-to-member blitz here in Local 659, and it went really well. Ryan Smith did a great job putting it together.

The Executive Board approved $150,000 for some new organizing programs to help us recover some market share, for which we are very grateful. This was a huge success. All other locals in the 9th district have these programs, and we look forward to getting them rolling in the coming months. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me or Ryan.

We got some members signed up for the Richard Barnes IBEW/NECA partnering class, which will take place April 30th-May 1st, and will cover collective bargaining. Ryan and I taught the COMET class at the training center to the 4th year Apprentices, which sparked a lot of good conversations. We also had a booth set up for Careers in Gears and talked to a Crater High School class at the training center.

Mike Meek and I attended the Construction Conference in Washington D.C., later in the month. The biggest takeaway from this conference was that due to the number of construction projects coming in the next 10 years or more, if we don’t organize more people, we will not be able to man the work coming across the country. This is a good reminder to all of us. Our number one goal in the IBEW is to organize all workers in the electrical industry, and we need all of your help to accomplish this. Thank you all!

Johnny Walker




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