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Labor's Edge: Views from the California Labor Movement

Labor's Edge Articles by Rebecca Band


How Nick Pepper Caught the $5,000 Fugitive

By Rebecca Band

IBEW 1245 member Nick Pepper was enjoying a day off from work when something serendipitous happened.

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IBEW Local 1245’s Organizing Stewards Spread the Activism Bug

By Rebecca Band
Photos by John Storey

IBEW Organizing Stewards meeting at the union hall in Vacaville, Calif. on January 22nd 2015.

The 2016 class of Local 1245 Organizing Stewards

If enthusiasm is contagious, then we’ve got an epidemic breaking out at IBEW Local 1245.


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Fully Engulfed: Local 1245 member Charles Rowe recounts harrowing Valley Fire experience

By Rebecca Band

IBEW 1245 member Charles Rowe used to love waking up around sunrise every Sunday to listen to the wind blow through the trees and enjoy the peaceful, majestic scenery outside his home in Cobb, California.

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IBEW 1245 Crews Respond to Rocky Fire

by Rebecca Band

A big, severe drought inevitably leads to a big, severe fire season. The Rocky Fire is the first, but probably not the last, massive fire to sweep through northern California this summer, which means it will be a busy season for the IBEW Local 1245 members at PG&E who work to restore and repair power poles and lines.

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Organizing Stewards Gear Up for an Action-Packed Year in 2015

by Rebecca Band, IBEW 1245

IBEW 1245’s ground-breaking “Organizing Steward” program has only been in effect for 18 months, but it’s already making a remarkable difference in the culture of activism in the union.

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Fred Ross Sr Inducted Into California Hall of Fame

IBEW 1245

Renowned union organizer and activist Fred Ross Sr was posthumously inducted into the California Hall of Fame on October 1.  The Hall of Fame honors “legendary people who embody California’s innovative spirit and have made their mark on history.” Ross was just one of the many notable Californians inducted that evening, along with Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Charlotta Bass, Francis Ford Coppola, Joan Didion, Jimmy Iovine, Stephen Schneider, Mimi Silbert and Andre “Dr. Dre” Young.


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Lineman Appreciation Day celebrates the unsung heroes that power our communities

By Rebecca Band

Without them, we’d be sitting in the dark, freezing cold or unbearably hot. We wouldn’t be able to charge our cell phones, make our morning coffee, use our computers or watch our favorite sporting event on TV. When we’re safe in our homes amidst a big storm, they’re braving the weather to do their work. And when there’s an electrical emergency, they are the first responders who risk their own lives to serve our communities.

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Robert Reich, Maria Elena Durazo headline IBEW 1245 leadership seminar

By Rebecca Band, IBEW 1245

Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich doesn’t mince words.

He lambasted President Obama’s recent public appearance at a Bay Area Walmart, calling whoever made the decision a “numbskull.”  And at a leadership seminar this week with 56 IBEW 1245 activists and LA Labor leader Maria Elena Durazo, Reich declared that the US economy is “rigged” in favor of the rich.

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Organizing Stewards vault IBEW 1245 into forefront of member organizing

Rebecca Band

IBEW 1245’s new organizing stewards reveal strong emotions when you ask them about their experiences in the field. These 28 member-organizers – some of whom have been organizing for years, and some of whom just started – are ready to build a brighter future for the middle class and keep their union strong and growing.


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Keep Your Burgers, Keep Your Fries. We Want Our Wages Supersized!

Rebecca Band

Most every day around noon, the McDonalds on Jackson St in downtown Oakland is filled with customers. Yesterday at noon, it was jam-packed as usual, but it wasn’t the usual crowd. Nearly 200 striking fast food workers and their supporters flooded into the restaurant with a simple demand: "Keep your burgers, keep your fries... we want our wages SUPERSIZED!"

Fast-food is one of the most profitable industries in our country, and yet the vast majority of fast-food workers earn poverty wages, and more than half are forced to enroll their families in public assistance programs just to afford basics like food and housing. Fast-food corporations are some of the biggest contributors to our nation’s growing income inequality, which is why thousands of fast-food workers went on strike in more than 100 cities yesterday.

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