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 202
Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 743-1652, Fax: (603) 743-1654

Union Wins Unemployment Benefits for NH Co-op Workers


NHEC workers went on strike on
Monday, May 7 and returned to
work on Tuesday, May 22.

August 28, 2018 - IBEW Local 1837 members employed by the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) are entitled to unemployment benefits for the time that they were on strike this May. That decision from the New Hampshire Employment Security Appeal Tribunal was handed down on Friday afternoon, August 24.

During the strike, IBEW encouraged our members to apply for unemployment benefits but NHEC argued after the strike that because of the work stoppage, our members were not eligible for those payments and an initial decision by a certifying officer agreed. The Union disagreed with the Company and engaged our attorneys to fight for those payments for our members, and won!

NHEC had management personnel perform the work of our members during the strike and also hired out-of-state replacement workers (often derisively known as “scabs”). The Employment Security Tribunal Chairman determined that there was no “substantial curtailment of work” during the strike and that “a stoppage of work requires more than holes in coverage.” In addition, the Chairman noted that NHEC did not suffer a loss of revenue or customers during the strike and continued to provide electricity and make repairs for their customers.

The decision of the Tribunal to allow those benefits for our members and to charge the NHEC account may be appealed by the Company.

Black Bear Hydro Members Approve 5-Year Contract

August 23, 2018 - IBEW 1837 members at Brookfield Energy’s Black Bear Hydro facilities in Milford, Maine, have ratified a new 5-year agreement.

The contract has wage increases every year – 2.75% in each of the first two years and 2.5% in each of the last three years.

Other featured improvements are a 6th week of vacation after 25 years, increased boot and meal allowances, and the pay for call-outs was increased from 2 hours to 4 hour minimums.

The contract also includes a $500 signing bonus. Over the term of the contract, the Company will eliminate the incentive bonus.

The Union Negotiating Team included Union Steward Gary Crane, IBEW 1837 Business Representative Renee Gilman and IBEW 1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers.

New 5-Year Unitil Contracts Approved by IBEW 1837 Members in New Hampshire

Union Negotiating Team at Unitil
IBEW 1837 Assistant Bus. Manager
Tom Ryan (left front) retired from
the Local after the contract was ratified.

May 31, 2018 - IBEW 1837 members working for Unitil in New Hampshire have ratified new 5-year contract agreements that provide wage increases and other improvements in benefits.

A total of 38 members of IBEW Local 1837 work at two New Hampshire locations of Unitil Energy Systems, Inc. (UES): “Capital” in Concord and “Seacoast” in Kensington. They work as Lineworkers, Meter Mechanics, and some as Support Personnel. A second, smaller bargaining unit of five Electric System Operators work at Unitil Service Corporation's Centralized Electric Dispatch (CED) in Portsmouth.

Both contracts include pay increases in each of the five years, revaluation of some job classifications and increases in meal and clothing allowances.

“I think this is a good agreement," IBEW Assistant Business Manager Tom Ryan said. "Other than a small increase in our medical co-pays, we were able to reevaluate many of our classifications prior to the annual adjustment, increase standby pay and receive 3% annual wage adjustments.”

Union Votes to End Strike at New Hampshire Electric Cooperative


Voting took place this morning in Laconia.

May 17, 2018 - International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union #1837 members at the New Hampshire Electric Co-op voted this morning to ratify a new 3 1/2 -year contract agreement and end their 10-day strike. The contract includes wage adjustments for some classifications, annual wage increases for all bargaining unit members and improvements in the retirement plans for union employees.

Significantly, the final agreement does not include the Company’s proposed language that would have given them the ability to modify or eliminate their contributions to employee retirement plans. It was that proposal from the Company’s so-called “last and final offer” that was pivotal in the decision of IBEW members to overwhelmingly approve a strike at the Co-op.

“The courage and determination of our members at the Co-op cannot be overstated,” IBEW Local #1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers said. “They stayed strong and unified throughout the strike and none of our members crossed the picket lines during the strike. They have earned our respect and admiration.”

Union workers walked off the job last week at the New Hampshire Electric Co-op. Yesterday, Union and Company negotiators reached a tentative agreement on the 10th day of the strike as union members continued their picketing. IBEW members met this morning in Laconia to listen to their negotiating team detail the terms of the final agreement and cast their ballots for ratification. 

Throughout the strike, support for our members on the picket lines was overwhelming. Countless people driving by picket lines honked their horns or gave a big "thumbs up" to show their appreciation for the people who have done so much to serve the Co-op's customers (who are referred to as Co-op "members"). 

Union workers are expected to return to the job on Tuesday, after an anticipated vote by the Co-op’s Board approving the agreement.

Community Rally for Striking NH Co-op Workers on Wednesday, May 16


Striking Co-op workers have been
picketing at multiple locations.

May 15, 2018 - More than 100 Union workers and members of the community are expected to gather together in Plymouth on Wednesday, May 16 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. for a Community Rally to show support for the striking workers of the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative. The rally was set to take place outside the headquarters of the Co-op at 579 Tenney Mountain Highway in Plymouth.

The rally will mark the 10th day of the strike at the electric utility which serves 83,000 residents in more than 100 towns. It is the first strike action in the history of the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative. The Company and Union met independently with a federal mediator last week and the mediator will return to meet with the parties Wednesday.

The primary issue that needs to be resolved is the Company’s insistence on new contract language that would allow them to change the pension and 401(k) plans whenever they wanted to without the need to negotiate. No other electric utilities with union contracts are known to have similar language in their collective bargaining agreements. The Union proposed that if the plan(s) were in financial trouble verified by our own independent review, we would accept it. The company refused and wanted full control to just change the plans any time they wanted to allow them to spend money elsewhere in the company or to balance the books on the backs of their workers.

In addition, the low wages earned by lineworkers compared to their counterparts at other New Hampshire utilities have been an issue – with Co-op lineworkers being paid $2 less per hour on average.

 

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