As the nation celebrates Labor Day, a time-honored occasion that pays tribute to the contributions of workers, we are also celebrating a partnership that has spanned over a century. This Labor Day, we reflect on the collaboration between SDG&E and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 465, a partnership that has helped shape our region.
Origins of Labor Day: A Tribute to Workers
Labor Day, which emerged as a response to the labor movement of the late 19th century, has its roots in the pursuit of worker rights and recognition. On September 5, 1882, New York City hosted the inaugural Labor Day parade, marking the first step toward acknowledging the immense contributions of workers. Twelve years later, on June 28, 1894, Labor Day was officially recognized as a federal holiday, designated to honor the efforts of workers across the nation.
A Pioneering Partnership
As the nation embraced the significance of Labor Day, another partnership was taking shape on the West Coast. In 1918, in the offices of the then San Diego Consolidated Gas and Electric Company, representatives from IBEW and SDG&E came together to forge an agreement that set a precedent for fair wages, safety standards, and employee benefits. This momentous wage agreement laid the foundation for what would become a productive and enduring partnership.
“Utility workers are an essential part of our communities, and our partnership has evolved to address changes within the energy industry while ensuring the continued security of the workforce,” says Nate Fairman, Business Manager of IBEW Local 465.
Over the years, SDG&E and IBEW Local 465 have joined forces to navigate challenges, embrace innovation, and drive progress. SDG&E is proud to have more than 1,700 employees who work in the field and on the front lines, many of whom are represented. These colleagues respond day and night, rain or shine, to provide reliable service to our customers.
"While a lot has changed since the inception of Labor Day and our initial wage agreement with IBEW Local 465, our collective commitment to collaboration and the safety of our employees and the communities that we serve remains constant," Kendall Helm, Vice President of People and Culture at SDG&E.
A Brighter Future Ahead
Today, as SDG&E's family has grown to more than 4,600 employees, the partnership between SDG&E and IBEW Local 465 stands as a testament to the enduring power of cooperation and the shared vision for a safer and more sustainable energy future. With a service territory spanning 4,100 square miles and providing energy to 3.6 million people, this collaboration touches lives in profound ways.
This Labor Day, SDG&E takes a moment to celebrate every employee's contribution, whether represented or non-represented, acknowledging their dedication to serving our communities. As we honor the legacy of labor movements past and present, let us also celebrate the enduring spirit of partnership that drives SDG&E and IBEW Local 465 toward a brighter and more resilient future.