Union members in Southern California are proving that good jobs and sustainable environmental practices go hand in hand. The members of IBEW Local 569 in San Diego are working alongside the environmental community to create work that sustains communities and keeps union members working.
Micah Mitrosky/Environmental Organizer/IBEW Local 569:
The whole idea of partnership, that unions and the environmental community can work together to address the challenge of climate change and to do things in a more healthy, clean, sustainable way for local communities, is good for our members. So having projects that are built union and done in an environmentally responsible manner is a win-win.
My name is Micah Mitrosky. I am the environmental organizer with IBEW Local 569 out of San Diego and Imperial Counties. I work to make sure that green jobs, like solar, wind, geothermal, electric car charging stations are IBEW jobs, and also to build partnerships between our local and the environmental community, so we can build power and strengthen our labor movement.
Nick Segura/Assistant Business Manager/IBEW Local 569:
Organizing these green projects is very important for our members because work has been slow over the past couple years, and they’ve been training for these green projects. It gives another place for them to work and develop their skill set as IBEW electricians.
We’re here in Borrego Springs, in San Diego County and we’re surrounded by California’s largest state park. We’re building a 26-megawatt solar project that is going to be selling clean energy to San Diego Gas and Electric.
Right now we have about 25 members on the job site. That will peak at about 150 IBEW members and they’ll be installing, at the end of the day, about 100,000 panels.
Tony Hernandez/IBEW Local 569 Apprentice:
A job like this means a lot of work for the future. We all know solar power is the way to go. We’re basically generating free power, free electricity that doesn’t harm anything or anybody around it.
Stacy Phillips/IBEW Local 569 Journeyman Wireman:
It’s great because Sonora and the IBEW are working in concert to hire the locals here, so there are some good friends and neighbors of mine who are working out here, so it’s been huge.
Hunter Toten/IBEW Local 569 Apprentice:
A project like this is important because we have natural energy coming in. It’s not affecting any land that’s being used and we’re supplying jobs.
I think we’ve been extremely successful. It’s actually surprising if you look at the numbers and thousands of megawatts that we have under agreement, and the thousands of megawatts that we’re negotiating to be done by the IBEW. It’s a phenomenal amount of work.
This project is a huge organizing success. We’re bringing in new members through this local hire agreement; new members that we wouldn’t have had it it weren’t for this green energy project.
We’re doing a project that is both creating good union jobs but is good for the local community and is exciting.