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IID employees rally for a fair contract

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IMPERIAL, Calif. (KYMA, KECY), Essential workers with the Imperial Irrigation District (IID), who keep the water flowing and lights on for thousands of residents say they are fighting for a fair contract.

“I don’t feel a little bit unappreciated, I feel a lot unappreciated," said Maria Guardado, IID service desk technician and employee of 27 years.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), labor union 465 held a caravan rally in support of the 900 IID workers that they represent who they say are currently working without a contract.

“These essential workers have been without a contract for almost three months now, restoring service, spending weeks away from their families at work," said Nate Fairman, business manager IBEW local 465.

Those fighting for a fair contract include employees that keep electricity and water running for Imperial County.

“The high voltage lineman, the zanjeros, the water dispatchers, the call center workers, pretty much everyone that’s on the frontline payroll at IID,” said Fairman.

According to the labor, union workers have been in contract negotiations for 14 months now.

They say that in February the IID district decided to walk away from negotiations.

IBEW says IID has abandoned its employees in a critical time of need.

“They risk their lives every day, even yesterday in Coachella valley. Forty poles blew down, guess who’s out there restoring that power right now. Away from their families, risking their lives without a contract and provisions that protect them," said Fairman.

The labor union says it is asking for a contract that includes fair wages, retirement security, and safety and protection while on the job.

“They can find how to praise their employees with fair wages. Come back and negotiate with us," said Maria Guardado, IID service desk technician.

We reached out to IID for comment, but are still waiting to hear back.

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Alexandra Rangel

Alexandra Rangel joined KSWT in March 2019 as a multimedia journalist.


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