In Maine: IBEW Local 1837
16 Old Winthrop Road
Manchester, ME 04351
Phone: (207) 623-1030, Fax: (207) 621-8384
In New Hampshire:
680 Central Avenue, Suite 201
Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 743-1652, Fax: (603) 743-1654

Bob Burns: A Quintessential Union Activist 17 Years After Retirement



 

Bob Burns, IBEW 1837 member who retired from CMP in 1991.
Bob Burns, IBEW 1837 member who retired from CMP in 1991.

 

November 21, 2008 - There were dozens of IBEW 1837 members who played important roles during the recent Labor 2008 Political Campaign. They handed out literature with information about candidates, staffed phone banks, and talked to other union members at the workplace or during door-to-door “Labor Walks.” But it’s safe to say that none of them worked harder or put in more hours than 73-year-old Bob Burns. Leading up to November’s national election, Brother Burns made literally hundreds of calls, reaching out to our members from AFL-CIO phone banks.

“I didn’t mind calling union people – it was fun,” said Bob. “And the election outcome was excellent, especially electing Deb Simpson in my (Maine state) senate district. That was really big!”

Bob retired from Central Maine Power in 1991 after 34 years working for the company - first as a meter reader, then in the stock department, and finally for most of his tenure in station maintenance. He’s remained pretty busy for the last 17 years, though, working as a cementer for a time, then for Western Maine Transit, and during summers as a campground host for national and state parks here in Maine. Bob and Louanne, his wife of 51 years, have also stayed busy keeping up with their three adult children and seven grandchildren.

Bob Burns, IBEW 1837 retiree from CMP manning phone bank during Labor 2008 program.
Bob Burns, IBEW 1837 retiree from CMP manning phone bank during Labor 2008 program.

Brother Burns still manages to find time to support his union. In addition to his work for Labor 2008, Bob attends many union events in the Lewiston/Auburn area and represents IBEW 1837 as a delegate to the Western Maine Labor Council. The council meets monthly as members from a variety of local unions work together for the betterment of working people, their families and communities. Bob rarely misses a meeting. Why does he do it?

“Being in a union made a big difference for me and my family” said Bob Burns. “I’d advise young workers to try to hook on with a company that is organized. There’s just no comparison to a non-union shop.”

But Bob’s enthusiasm for being in IBEW goes beyond his recognition of the superior wages and benefits that he enjoyed. He especially valued the solidarity that you find by being a union member.

“I don’t really miss working at CMP, but I do miss the camaraderie of working with my union brothers,” concluded Brother Burns.