IBEW 569 Position on Decarbonization & Electrification

December 2, 2021

IBEW 569 Position on

San Diego Regional Decarbonization Framework & Electrification

IBEW Local 569 represents 3,700 electricians, power professionals and working families in San Diego and Imperial Counties, and our Union has been a long-time proponent of a clean energy future - locally and statewide. We strongly support reaching zero-carbon emissions by 2035 if doing so is intertwined with the creation of good middle-class jobs and labor principles inclusive of prevailing wages, electrical state certification requirements, and employment of a skilled and trained local workforce using policy mechanisms to enforce these.

IBEW 569 RECOMMENDED DECARBONIZATION ACTION ITEMS AND POLICY PRIORITIES

The San Diego County draft Regional Decarbonization Framework should be amended to:

  • Apply an emphasis throughout the report on the creation of good union jobs with family supporting wages, family healthcare, and retirement benefits.
  • Include public policies that address and achieve a just transition and quality career pathways for those working in the fossil fuel industry;
  • Require EVITP certifications to install and maintain EV infrastructure throughout the County;
  • Require Prevailing Wages on all construction, operations, and maintenance work associated with decarbonization;
  • Require use of a Skilled and Trained workforce, thereby bolstering the pipeline of apprenticeship programs;
  • Require Community Benefit Agreements with local hire, community outreach, and apprenticeship;
  • Require procurement of renewable energy generated within California as defined by California law in the Public Utilities Code as Category 1;
  • Emphasize and prioritize communities of concern for development of mobility hubs and good decarbonization careers and training;

The San Diego County draft Regional Decarbonization Framework (RDF) states, “the costs of a just transition will be much lower if the transition is able to proceed steadily rather than through a series of episodes.” One such hurdle to achieving steady progress on decarbonization is the potential displacement of workers or loss of jobs in the fossil fuel industry. As such, IBEW 569 strongly advocates for public policies that address and achieve just transition and quality career pathways for those working in the fossil fuel industry.

The UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education issued a report titled “Putting California on the High Road - Jobs and Climate Action Plan” in 2020 and it aligns well with IBEW 569 priorities and values. The Forward states:

“California can achieve greater social equity in labor market outcomes for disadvantaged workers and communities when policymakers pay attention to job quality. Identifying high-quality careers (i.e., ones that offer family-supporting wages, employer-provided benefits, worker voice, and opportunities for advancement) first, and then building pathways up and into such careers, is critical to ensuring that investments in workforce education and training meaningfully improve workers’ economic mobility.” And “deliberate policy interventions are necessary in order to advance job quality and social equity as California transitions to a carbon neutral economy.”

According to the RDF, “between 2021 – 2030, the regional decarbonization pathway would generate an average of nearly 27,000 jobs per year in the San Diego region” and we must ensure this job creation results in good union jobs for local workers with good wages and quality healthcare and retirement benefits. Additionally, decarbonization jobs policy should prioritize low- and medium-income communities of concern to offer opportunities in green careers, apprenticeship education and lifelong training. County policies and outcomes should also reduce sprawl and prioritize in-fill development in urban areas near transit and mobility hubs – thereby generating good transportation options and healthier air to breath, while reducing traffic and shortening time workers spend away from their families commuting from home to job sites. This would help to put the families of the San Diego region on an upward pathway to a better quality of life. Implementing actionable policies is the key to achieving this in an equitable manner.

To reach decarbonization, we must also ensure we are procuring renewable energy generated within California from solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, and tidal as defined by California law in the Public Utilities Code as Category 1. Including the use of energy storage with Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS). Building and generating renewable energy locally will create good green local jobs through the expanded use of prevailing wages and Project Labor Agreements / Community Workforce or Benefits Agreements (see CommunityHiring.net and cabuildingtrades.org/issue/project-labor-agreements for additional details on such policies and agreements). These Agreements should include local hiring for prioritized projects, programs, and actions to reduce emissions in disadvantaged communities that rank in the top 25 percent of CalEnviroScreen’s ranking for San Diego regional communities.

Additionally, the further build out and construction of electric vehicle charging stations must require employment of California Certified Electricians with EVITP Certification. The A2Z Regional Gap Analysis states “existing programs such as EVITP should be continually promoted to get installers the baseline training they will need to install ZEV fueling infrastructure.” We have a collective priority and mission to support High Road Jobs – and construction apprenticeship programs have a proven track record of taking the high road with excellent training and education, opportunities to earn while you learn, with professional certifications (like EVITP) and college credits that create lifelong middle-class career opportunities for apprentice graduates. The UC Berkeley report further expounds, “skill upgrades via certifications like the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP), build upon certified electricians’ foundational skills, rather than train for one specific technology as a one-off training. The EVITP curriculum was developed based on evidence of worker and public safety risk associated with the installation and maintenance of EV charging stations.”

With industry partners, IBEW 569 owns and operates the San Diego and Imperial Electrical Training Centers which are State-Approved electrical apprenticeships with good wages, family healthcare, retirement benefits and college credits. Our apprenticeship and union recruit talent from the local community including high schools and veteran programs, and we have expanded our apprenticeship to serving more than 550 apprentices concurrently.

IBEW QUICK STATS IN SAN DIEGO AND IMPERIAL COUNTIES

  • Constructed over 1,500 MW of solar and wind;
  • Completed more than 10,000 rooftop solar installations on homes and businesses;
  • Built over 550 MW of energy storage, including two of North America’s largest projects;
  • Installed hundreds of electric vehicle charging stations;
  • Achieved 65% - 90% local hire for community residents on Imperial County renewable energy projects, thanks to Local Hire Agreements: and
  • Operates largest certified electrical apprenticeship program in San Diego & Imperial Counties.