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

In the Community

Staffing at Central Maine Power to Increase Under New Agreement with IBEW 1837


The addition of line workers, 
clerks and other personnel is
expected to help speed restoration
efforts after major storms.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local #1837 and Central Maine Power Company (CMP) have agreed to an extension of their staffing agreement that coupled with a staffing plan submitted to the Maine Public Utility Commission, includes a substantial increase in the number of workers employed at Maine’s largest electric utility.

IBEW 1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers has been advocating for increased staffing for several years in discussions with CMP and the Public Advocate’s office as well as in testimony before the Maine Public Utilities Commission and the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology.

“I signed an extension of the staffing agreement that I believe, along with the staffing plan submitted by the company to the Maine Public Utility Commission and once fully implemented, will have the impact CMP’s customers and our members deserve including restoration efforts, new construction/customer service and safety,” Rogers said.

The “minimum” number of Union employees at CMP will increase from 546 to 606. That includes the addition of twelve (12) new line apprentices and four (4) new station apprentices.  By 2024, the fully implemented minimum staffing number will be 665.

Consumer-Owned Electric Utility Proposed for Maine; Union Contracts to be Protected

Dick Rogers
IBEW 1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers 
paused during the new conference to
answer a reporter's question.

January 28, 2019 - At a news conference at the Maine State House, Rep. Seth Berry, House Chair of the Energy and Utilities Committee, announced that he was submitting legislation to form a new consumer-owned utility.

The Maine Power Delivery Authority would not be run by the state and would not be financed by tax dollars in any way. If enacted, Maine Power would acquire all transmission and distribution assets of Central Maine Power and Emera Maine, compensating them fairly. All IBEW 1837 members would continue to be covered under the terms of their collective bargaining agreements.

IBEW 1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers read the following statement at the news conference: "IBEW 1837 supports the consideration of any and all initiatives, including the proposed “Maine Power Delivery” bill, which would reposition Maine’s utilities for greater local control and better service at lower costs. IBEW 1837 believes that the current structure and workforce model, driven in large part due to the current utility ownership at CMP and Emera, has had a significant negative impact on all employees, and more importantly, the ratepayers in Maine. The union is committed to participating in the process to ensure that employees and ratepayers' interests are at the forefront of any proposed legislation. Our members and retirees have a wealth of experiences and knowledge and look forward to assisting in the development of any proposed legislation."

When questioned by a reporter, Rogers said that our represented lineworkers, clerks, customer service representatives and other workers have been struggling to maintain the quality of service that ratepayers deserve, in large part due to inadequate staffing. Rogers stopped short of endorsing the bill, saying that he needs to wait to see the final language in the legislation.

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.

 

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