A comprehensive energy plan was introduced in the Illinois legislature on March 29th.
IBEW 15 and Climate Jobs Illinois, a ste-wide coalition of labor unions, support the Climate Union Jobs Act. The language from the Act has been filed as amendments to House Bill 1472 and Senate Bill 1100.
Members are asked to urge lawmakers to support Climate Union Jobs Act. The IBEW 15 website has more information and links to our elected representatives.
IBEW 15 also supports another bill, the Coal to Solar and Energy Storage Act (HB 3446) which would establish the Coal to Solar and Energy Storage Incentive and Plant Transition Fund as a special fund in the State treasury to provide transitional support funding to coal-fueled electric utilities participating in the utilization of the renewable energy credits.
The proposed law would help Illinois nuclear plants to keep generating power; and preserve their jobs and economic value by:
-Creating 74 million megawatt-hour Carbon Mitigation Credits for zero emission facilities like the Braidwood, LaSalle, Byron and Dresden nuclear plants. Plants participating in the Zero Emission Credit program would not be eligible.
-Creating 35 million megawatt-hour Renewable Portfolio Standard credits, with twenty-five percent of the solar allocation being dedicated to public schools.
-Protecting the jobs of 28,000 workers directly and indirectly employed by the state’s nuclear plants and securing over $125 million in tax revenue to the state along with critical tax revenue to municipal governments that help fund schools and keep property tax rates stable.
The bill would set union labor standards when Renewable Portfolio Standard, Carbon Mitigation and Solar for All credits are used by requiring:
-Illinois Prevailing Wage Act, requiring paying the going hourly rate for work of a similar character in a locality.
-Project Labor Agreements, setting the terms and conditions of employment for all craft workers.
-Report on workforce diversity
-Labor neutrality agreements where the employer agrees to not work for or against efforts to organize a union.
CUJA will reset standard ratemaking procedures subjecting proposed rate hikes to greater regulatory scrutiny.
The bill builds a more equitable and inclusive work force by recruiting more diverse candidates for the energy sector.
The bill establishes a Displaced Energy Workers Bill of Rights that would provide advance notice of power plant closures. It includes other benefits such as employment assistance, scholarships for Illinois institutions and trade schools and some insurance benefits.
CUJA is a starting point. Other stakeholders will propose provisions that are important to them.
Two other energy bills on are currently the floor in Springfield, HB 804, and HB 2640. IBEW 15 doe not support either bill because they do not include prevailing wage or labor standards.
IBEW 15 President McGoldrick and Vice-President Phillips continue to be cautiously optimistic about a positive outcome to keep the nuclear plants open.