You wouldn’t know it from the Los Angeles Times’ recent coverage, but the labor contract with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 18 currently under consideration by city officials is a good deal for Department of Water and Power (DWP) customers and the city as a whole, and city officials would be wise to approve it, even if there are minor changes made to the deal. A regular reader might also miss the fact that Los Angeles has some of the lowest utility rates and most reliable service in the region.
A cursory review of the L.A. Times website reveals that the newspaper has published some 18 stories on issues related to labor costs at DWP over the last year. (This accounting does not include the Times’ coverage of the mayoral campaign in which IBEW Local 18’s support of Wendy Greuel became an issue.) Meanwhile,
On May 15, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa celebrated the launch of the L.A. Department of Water and Power’s Small Business Direct Install (SBDI) energy efficiency program at Supermercado Latino, a neighborhood market near Memorial Coliseum in South Los Angeles. The market received free retrofits that will save it 44 percent on utility bills while helping reduce L.A.’s reliance on coal power. SBDI is one of the key initiatives won by RePower LA, a coalition committed to saving Angelenos money on their energy bills, reducing dependency on dirty coal and creating local, career-path jobs for L.A.’s hardest-hit areas. RePower LA has also been instrumental in the creation of the Home Energy Improvement Program (HEIP) and the Utility Pre-Craft Training program (UPCT).
“The cleanest, cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use,” said Villaraigosa. “The Small Business Direct Install program helps reduce the carbon footprint of small businesses that would otherwise be unable to afford energy audits and retrofits.”
Through the SBDI,
At a time when there are so few programs that create good career-path jobs, it’s exciting to see one that is doing just that. RePower LA worked with IBEW Local 18 and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to support the creation of the Utility Pre-Craft Training (UPCT) program. Launched in 2011, this is a program that creates real jobs and has a real impact on the lives of real everyday people.
Recently, I was asked to attend a training session at a labor-management joint-training institute. I was excited to talk one-on-one with the men and women who have been accepted into this unique on-the-job training program that prepares workers for careers in the utility.
There were two things that struck me immediately when I met this group of trainees. First was the incredible diversity of the group: old and young,
When Californians passed Proposition 39 last year, they voted for more carbon reduction, school improvements and jobs – all through a five-year, $2.5 billion program using revenues from newly closed tax loopholes to pay for investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Now state policymakers are making critical decisions as they craft the guidelines for this massive new investment.
School facilities are the primary target of Proposition 39 retrofitting efforts. But if the measure is going to deliver on its promises of carbon reduction, healthier schools and neighborhoods, long-term career opportunities and a timely economic boost for communities that need it the most, the proposition needs to be implemented right.
I’ve been studying the green jobs sector since its early days, and my research and observations suggest some important recommendations.
Last week I stood with hundreds of proud Angelenos outside the Department of Water and Power headquarters in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate a momentous announcement for the city and our environment. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa proclaimed that Los Angeles will be completely off of coal power before 2025.
It will be a monumental shift.
“It took one hundred years to build up the power supply the DWP has today,” the Mayor explained, “but in a decade and a half, we’re going to replace 70 percent of it.” “Right now, 40 percent of our power comes from coal plants. But by 2025, that number will be zero.”
With the spotlight on our city, we were joined by national environmental leaders such as former Vice President Al Gore and Sierra Club Executive Director Mike Brune.
“This is a really big deal,” Gore said emphatically. “Americans worry that government is broken,
(Editor’s Note: Living in Los Angeles is a day-to-day experiment requiring patience and improvisational skills. So does governing this sprawling metropolis of 3.8 million people. The city’s next mayor, however, cannot be satisfied with merely coping with issues as they arise, but must be able to look forward and anticipate and define the city’s needs for the next four years. To this end we’ve asked writers to share their thoughts about what lies ahead – and around the corner – for Los Angeles.)
Going green may be all the rage. But get into the weeds and you may lose a few people. Take energy efficiency. Yes, it’ll save you money, create good jobs (if done right) and help us preserve the planet. But walk into a party and start talking about window caulking, attic insulation and compact fluorescent bulbs, and you may soon find yourself alone in a corner.
On Monday, September 17, RePower LA will be joined by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Council members, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power general manager Ron Nichols, and others at the site of a South L.A. home undergoing an energy efficiency upgrade.
City leaders are now touting the programs, initially proposed by the RePower LA coalition, which are upgrading small business facilities and the homes of those struggling in the current economy. The customers reduce their energy use and save money, L.A. reduces its reliance on dirty coal-fired power plants, and members of our hardest-hit communities are able to access good career path jobs through the Utility Pre-Craft Trainee program of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 18.
With such win-win-win potential, it is good to see LADWP and city leaders embracing energy efficiency as a central pillar of L.A.’s future.
John Hariel has an electric personality – perfectly appropriate for a man who is helping to wire Los Angeles.
A general foreman with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 11, Hariel – known to everyone as Big John – has spent the last two decades building L.A.’s infrastructure. He’s a natural leader blessed with an entrepreneurial mind, an activist heart and the body of a Mac truck.
Big John has deliberately reached out to women and men from disadvantaged communities, mentoring them to become strong leaders, parents and citizens. Frying Pan News recently got a chance to talk with members of his wonderfully eclectic electrician crew, all of whom are working on the Martin Luther King Jr. hospital renovation in Watts, which is covered by a project labor agreement and local hire agreement. The team included several women electricians and members from all ethnic backgrounds, reflecting the impressive diversity of L.A.’s construction workforce.
RePower LA’s proposal “appears to be one of those rare public policy ideas that generates not only broad, but enthusiastic support from the electorate. Voters appreciate that it not only creates needed jobs, opportunities with union benefits, but it does so while cleaning our air, reducing electricity bills for 10,000 homes and businesses a year, and lowering electricity generating costs for generations