Union Busting Is Disgusting: CALPINE Workers File for a Union Election

Amid chants of “Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Union Busters Gotta Go!”, CALPINE workers at the Geysers geothermal plant filed for a union election yesterday at the San Francisco National Labor Relation Board’s office. Over the last three years, CALPINE management have ignored repeated workers’ concerns and violated workers' trust by implementing “take aways” and instituting changes that threaten safety and job security. 

CALPINE worker Mike Farmer:

We are seeking to form our union to win a meaningful voice and a place at the table so that we have a say in the decisions impacting our safety, staffing levels, transparency regarding wages and benefits, and the well-being of our families. As we move forward, we reaffirm ourcommitment to advancing the mission of Calpine – providing clean energy to our customers – while at the same time protecting the rights and security of the workers who keep the power flowing.

IBEW 1245 members distributed signs with the slogan “Free and Fair Elections” to an energetic crowd of local union, California Labor Federation and San Francisco Labor Council leaders. The sign message “Free and Fair Elections” couldn’t have been more pertinent. IBEW 1245 organizer Fred Ross, Jr. told the crowd CALPINE had hired a firm who sought to discourage workers’ legal right to form a union at the workplace. The Arizona-based firm placed five, (repeat FIVE), anti-union “professional consultants” on company property, whose purpose is to troll the plant floor, have one-on-one and “captive-audience” meetings with workers while they are on the clock, and generally dissuade workers’ support of the union. Speakers reiterated that CALPINE’s campaign of violation of rights and intimidation has got to stop. 

San Francisco Labor Council Executive Director Tim Paulson and Mike Casey, President of UNITE HERE Local 2 could not have been more resolute in support of the workers’ push back against CALPINE’s anti-union campaign. Fred Ross, Jr. also said that the lead union-buster’s message to CALPINE management was to make sure the workers never file a petition to have a union election.  Ross exclaimed, “Your first victory is today!” Other speakers Susan Sachen, California Labor Federation and Peter Olney, International Longshore Workers Union, told the workers they “are our heroes.” 

Fred Ross Jr. also recognized a key supporter that couldn’t attend the rally – the North Bay Labor Council. The North Bay Labor Council was critical in helping collect 100% of local elected leaders in support of a free and fair election for CALPINE workers, including letters from congressional, state senate, assembly, county and municipal officers to CALPINE CEO Jack Fusco. Later that day, CALPINE workers joined up with local elected officials and supportive unions at the North Bay Labor Council annual political fundraiser in Petaluma.

Now that the workers have filed, a secret ballot election will be held within 30 to 45 days to determine the workers succeed to have a voice on the job and union representation by International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245.  The workers will be holding another rally on December 9th, and all are encouraged to come out and support them.

Learn more at www.calpineworkerstogether.org.