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

Union Workers On Strike at New Hampshire Electric Co-op


Union members prepared signs last
night in anticipation of a possible strike.

May 7, 2018 - Union workers have walked off the job and are on strike at the New Hampshire Electric Co-op. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union #1837 represents 85 employees of the New Hampshire Electric Co-op (NHEC), a utility that serves 83,000 residents across 100 towns.

Last week, union members in the largest bargaining unit at the New Hampshire Electric Co-op voted 79 – 1 to reject the company’s contract offer and authorize the IBEW Negotiating Team to call for a strike at the utility. Members in the smaller Warehouse bargaining unit also voted unanimously to reject the contract and authorize a strike. Union and Company negotiators met this morning but NHEC representatives refused to back off their demand that that they have the unilateral right to modify or eliminate 401(k) or pension plans without first negotiating with the Union. In other areas, the Union previously agreed to almost all of the company’s proposals - including flexibility.

The Union agreed to extend the previous contract until today due to the company’s promise to bring something to this morning’s bargaining session with a substantial change that would make us happy.  We can’t help but think this tactic was just a way to have our members around for this past weekend’s storms.

The Company’s continued insistence on this extreme proposal would make NHEC one of the only unionized electric utilities in the country to have such disastrous language affecting worker retirement plans. The Company was clear this was not about a failing pension plan but rather that they want to be able to balance the books on the backs of their workers by changing the plan at any time they wished. 

The top 12 management people at NHEC make over $2 million in base salary and another $600,000 in other compensation. Two of the managers who responsible for making the decisions for the management negotiating team make $353,000 plus $86,000 in other compensation and the other makes $189,000 plus $72,000 in other compensation a year, according to NHEC’s 2016 income report. 

The fact that the management team would treat these men and women this way is unconscionable, especially given what they do day-in and day-out in the worst conditions imaginable to keep the lights on for NHEC customers. These are highly-skilled hardworking, dedicated workers for the members of the Cooperative. They deserve better.

 

Pam Paquette and Bill Tarallo Retire from Eversource and IBEW 1837 E-Board

Pam Paquette & Friends
Pam Paquette received a plaque to
commemorate her service for the
Local from B.M. Dick Rogers (left) and
President Michelle Crocker.

March 5, 2018 - Two longtime activists of IBEW Local #1837 have recently retired from Eversource in New Hampshire, and have also left their positions on the Local's E-Board.

Pam Paquette has retired from Eversource/PSNH after 37 years at New Hampshire’s largest electric utility. Sister Paquette was active in her union for more than thirty years. 

“The Local and I share the same beliefs – that the dignity of labor needs to be maintained and defended for all workers, regardless of gender, race or experience,” Pam said.

Originally hired as a non-union Customer Service Clerk, with the assistance of recently-retired IBEW Local #1837 President Bill Tarallo, she helped organize her co-workers to join the union, winning their NLRB election in 1984. Pam not only served as Recording Secretary for the Union E-Board, she was also steward, a unit officer, a contract negotiations committee member, and an elected delegate to six International Conventions.

“One of the most prominent things I’ll take with me is all the Brothers and Sisters that I’ve met and talked with along the way,” Sister Paquette said.  “As Union members, we all share the same dream – which is to protect what we have, have a say in where we are going, and make sure everyone is treated with equally with dignity and respect.”  

“Pam has been an extremely active and helpful union member, and has helped me and the Local with innumerable issues,” IBEW Local #1837 Assistant Business Manager Tom Ryan said. “Her insight has been greatly valued. We’re going to miss her.”

“I want to thank IBEW Local 1837 for everything it’s done for me and made me the person I am today,” Sister Paquette added.  “I’m a PROUD UNION MEMBER forever.”

New 5-Year Contract Approved by IBEW 1837 Members at Brookfield in Maine

Ed Goodale on Brookfield Dam in West Buxton
IBEW 1837 Chief Steward Ed Goodale shows
a visitor Brookfield's dam on the Saco River.

February 28, 2018 - IBEW Local #1837 members at Brookfield Renewable’s hydroelectric assets in Maine have ratified a new, 5-year contract. Members will see a 12.75% increase in wages over the term of the agreement while maintaining their level of benefits.

“This is a good contract,” said IBEW 1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers. “The members will receive a wage increase similar to or even a little better than workers at other Brookfield hydro assets.”

In addition, minimum call-outs for members were increased to 4 hours for regular call-outs to 6 hours on holidays.

Stipendable skillsets were changed which will qualified more than half of the members to receive more money beginning in 2019.

New employees will now get holidays immediately after being hired instead of having to wait for six months.

“There were no losses and most of the (members) seemed to be happy,” said IBEW 1837 Chief Steward Ed Goodale. “The negotiations themselves went well. The company proposed some changes including adding a stand-by policy and changing the management rights clause but we were successful in getting them to drop those.”

B.M. Rogers Taps Sapienza for Assistant B.M. Post

Tony Sapienza
Tony Sapienza

January 23, 2018 - IBEW Local #1837 Business Manager has appointed Anthony “Tony” Sapienza to be the next Assistant Business Manager from New Hampshire, effective June 1, 2018. Brother Sapienza will be succeeding longtime Assistant Business Manager Tom Ryan, who plans to retire on that date.

Tony will be taking a leave of absence from Eversource NH, where he began work as a System Electrician for Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH) more than 32 years ago. Brother Sapienza has served his union as an E-Board member, a Chief Steward and as Unit 2 (Manchester) Recording Secretary for over 20 years. He was recently re-elected by a wide margin to his second term as an alderman for the City of Manchester.

“I’m grateful to my union for the wages that allowed me to raise four kids,” Tony said. “The union paycheck and our premium pay made a big difference to my family.”

The 57-year-old Sapienza and his wife Shirley have been married for 33 years and have four adult children.

“I’m looking forward to helping more union members as I’ve helped those around me and expanding the scope of my work,” Sapienza continued. “I’m looking forward to meeting (IBEW) members from our other companies.”

Rogers was clearly pleased that Sapienza has agreed to take the reins from Brother Ryan.

“I’m happy that Tony has accepted the position,” Rogers said. “Given his lengthy experience in bargaining contracts, I believe he’s the right fit for the job.”

Winning Bidders Announced for Eversource NH Generation Assets

The sale of Eversource's generation
assets will mark the completion of
NH's electricity deregulation process.

 

October 12, 2017 - After waiting for more than three years to find out who will take ownership of the electric generation assets of Eversource NH (formerly PSNH), IBEW 1837 members and New Hampshire ratepayers finally have their answer. The winning bidders of an auction were announced on October 12 in an Eversource filing with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC).

Eversource said their nine hydroelectric plants are being purchased for $83 million by Hull Street Energy, LLC and its affiliates. Hull Street is a private equity firm based in Bethesda, Maryland, that is focused on the power generation industry.

The three fossil fuel plants (Newington, Merrimack and Schiller Stations) are being purchased for $175 million by a partnership of Granite Shore Power LLC, a 50-50 joint venture of Atlas Holdings of Greenwich, Connecticut, and Castleton Commodities International of Stamford, Connecticut. 

The NHPPUC is expected to approve both of these transactions within a few months.

In 2014, Eversource entered into settlement talks related to the divestiture of their generating assets as the PUC responded to a new law giving them the authority to force the Company to sell them if it was in the “economic interest” of ratepayers. PSNH had been under pressure to sell in large part because costs associated with a state-mandated "scrubber" to reduce mercury emissions at Merrimack Station had led to substantial upward pressure on residential electric rates.

In 2015, IBEW 1837 members overwhelmingly ratified an agreement that extended their contract while providing additional employee protections if the fossil or hydro facilities were sold or closed. All prospective buyers agreed to abide by the terms of the Union contract and to continue to run the facilities for at least 18 months after the deal was finalized.

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