We are deeply saddened to learn that Wayne Ash, a former long-time member leader of ESC Local 20 at PG&E, peacefully passed away at his home on January 1st, 2022, surrounded by his wife Nancy, his sons Wayne and Mike, and beloved puppy Sir Isaac Newton.
Wayne began working for PG&E in 1980 and had an illustrious and prolific 35-year-long career as an Electrical Distribution Engineer. Those who had the privilege to work with Wayne knew him as a tremendous unionist, shop steward, and leader of ESC Local 20. He first became involved with the union in the campaign to organize the Distribution Engineers at PG&E, an endeavor that stretched from 1998 to 2000. The Distribution Engineers campaign was the first successful organizing campaign to bring a new group of PG&E workers into ESC since 1952. Wayne served on the bargaining committee for the Distribution Engineers and helped to secure an agreement that served as a model for future organizing of professionals at PG&E. Once the Distribution Engineers voted to join ESC, Wayne threw himself into the fight to organize other professional workers at PG&E, including the Corporate Land group, Senior New Business Reps, Industrial Power Engineers, Project Engineers, and more than two dozen others, some of which are still in progress! Know that if you have received a monthly PWI, Brother Ash’s efforts contributed to your fortune.
Wayne served on the PG&E Unit Board as the Unit Treasurer, and later served all members of the union as Vice President representing PG&E on the ESC Executive Board. In addition, Wayne served on several occasions as a delegate to the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers’ Constitutional Convention. He was a member of the PG&E general contract negotiations committee for the 2009 and 2012 contract cycles and played a key role in securing contracts that protected the dignity of our work at PG&E. He was a dedicated union leader and champion of working people’s rights well beyond his retirement from PG&E in 2015.
Wayne was an engineer through-and-through, by education and temperament, and he had the deep, kind, and patient soul of a mentor and teacher. Wayne exemplifies the Union’s motto of “Proud Union Professional.” All of us, his sisters and brothers in the labor movement, hold Wayne dearly in our hearts. We will never forget his smile, his laugh, his silly “dad jokes”, his clumsiness, his enthusiasm, his deep intelligence and curiosity, and his willingness to represent and defend the members of Local 20. He loved to help others in any way he could. We are all richer for having known him.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Cancer Society.