Forward of the panel: Photo voltaic Holler installers, electricians to unionize | Information, Sports activities, Jobs
SHEPHERDSTOWN – On June 2nd, Solar Holler announced that it had decided to partner with the International Brotherhood of Electricians to unite the installers and electricians of solar panels.
The company’s employees have all decided to join the union’s regional chapter, IBEW Local Union 317.
“The partnership with IBEW is a continuation of the mission we have pursued over the past seven years to create family-friendly jobs in a globally changing industry,” said Dan Conant, founder and CEO of Solar Holler. “We believe that healthcare is a human right, that the people who wear boots bring our systems to life, and that our company has a responsibility to honor and nurture those who make magic happen.”
According to Conant, Solar Holler is joining a growing number of unionized solar companies. At the time of joining, only four percent of IBEW members were solar-related.
“We know of two other solar companies east of the Mississippi that are affiliated with IBEW – one in Indiana and one in Vermont,” said Marketing Associate Robyn Schneiderman, referring to the idea of unionization from the Solar Holler executives. “The management of Solar Holler initiated the cooperation with IBEW and our CEO advocated it.”
This decision will help protect the interests of Solar Holler employees, similar to Solar Holler’s previous proactive decision to “provide employee benefits that cover 100 percent of family health premiums and pension contributions.”
“For too long, health care and benefits have been tied to individual employers,” said Schneiderman. “Our membership in IBEW enables our colleagues to portability of benefits over the course of their careers. The union provides a safety net that is bigger than the solar industry.
“Solar Holler has never shied away from doing the rare or unusual that we were the first solar company in West Virginia to write ourselves as a benefit company Equal with Profits,” said Schneiderman. “That commitment has carried through every step of our journey, from our earliest projects helping faith communities and nonprofits run solar, to paying college degrees and opportunities for young coal-based communities.
“Working with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is a natural extension of our mission to create family-friendly jobs in a globally changing industry,” said Schneiderman. “We’re always looking for creative solutions that will make solar the cheapest option for people across West Virginia. While we are in the minority among solar installers, we love to be on the cutting edge of new approaches that benefit West Virginia industry and workers in West Virginia. “