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PG&E blackouts: IBEW union response

Action News Now speaks with a PG&E employee and union representative about the anger directed at employees for the blackouts

Posted: Nov 7, 2019 7:51 AM
Updated: Nov 7, 2019 9:05 AM

CHICO, Calif. The recent PG&E statewide blackouts left millions of Californians in the dark. It sparked outrage and Action News Now reported on numerous incidents of violence and vandalism targeted at PG&E employees and property.

Action News Now Morning Anchor Julia Yarbough recently spoke with a 16-year PG&E employee who is also a member and shop steward for the IBEW 1245 union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. It is one of the largest unions in the country and represents PG&E electricians.

Union members recently posted a public statement to the group’s Facebook page, outlining some of the frustrations, fears, and concerns many have about incidents of the public lashing out at employees.

Steve Lange said the anger directed at him and his colleagues from the public adds a level of uneasiness to going to work.

Action News Now asked Lange, if he is fearful of going to work. He said yes, his comfort level has changed. He reminds the public, that we [PG&E employees] are not the people making the decisions to shut the power off and we aren’t the people that should be taking the brunt of the abuse happening.

The statement, titled ‘There are people who talk about dangerous weather and there are people who do something about it,’ the statement reminds the public that the men and women doing the work to deliver, keep it on and restore power are not the ones making policy decisions about power shut-offs.

The statement goes on to explain the decision-making process for public safety power shut-offs.

Lange said union members hope the statement can help the public understand the electricians working on the front lines are not the public’s enemy.

Lange describes himself and colleagues as ‘the boots on the ground.’ He says they are the ones getting the job done, the guys out in all types of weather, from dark to dark and they are catching the majority of the abuse.

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