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

In the Community

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.

 

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.

 

Two IBEW 1837 Members at CMP Receive Lifesaving Awards After Daring Rescue

Andrew Grant and Paul Reynolds posing with their awards.
Andrew Grant and Paul Reynolds seen
posing with their awards.

September 29, 2016 - Two IBEW 1837 members working at Central Maine Power have received the highest commendation offered by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers after rescuing a man trapped inside a burning pickup truck after a crash.

It was an ordinary Thursday afternoon this past June that quickly turned extraordinary when CMP Lineworkers Andrew Grant and Paul Reynolds came upon a car/pole accident in Bridgton, Maine.

"We saw the truck was on its driver's side and was on fire," Brother Reynolds said. "There were secondaries (power lines) down there barking and arcing. (Then) we realized there was no one out of the vehicle yet!"

After Reynolds struggled at first to break the window with a gloved hand, Grant grabbed a set of pliers to smash it and pulled the man out before the truck was fully engulfed in flames.

"We were at the right place at the right time," Reynolds added.

As paramedics tended to the accident victim, Reynolds and Grant tended to the downed power lines to make the scene safe.

"We appreciate the acknowledgement but don't feel like any heroes," Brother Grant said.

IBEW 1837 Member’s Daughter Diagnosed with Rare Form of Leukemia; Union Encouraging Donations for Family

Giuffrida Family
The Guiffrida Family during happier
times at this summer's OpSail event.

December 21, 2015 - The young daughter of an IBEW 1837 member will be spending this Christmas in the hospital suffering from a rare form of leukemia. Jazzlyn Giuffrida just celebrated her first birthday this month and is a patient at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland.

Central Maine Power Customer Service Representative and IBEW 1837 Union Steward Joe Giuffrida and his wife Jamie Lynn are being hit with unexpected expenses during this very difficult and challenging time. They have also lost much of Jamie Lynn’s income since she is unable to work while caring for her daughter and travelling between Augusta and Portland.

CMP, the First United Pentecostal Church and members of IBEW Local #1837 are working together to support the Giuffrida family during their time of need. Over $1,000 in donations were collected last week at CMP’s General Office, much of it given and collected by Joe’s fellow Customer Service Representatives.

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