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

IBEW News

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.

 

Eversource NH Credit Specialists Vote "Union Yes"

Credit Specialists work around the state
to help collect overdue bills.

April 14, 2017 - Seven Credit Specialists employed by Eversource in New Hampshire voted in Hooksett today in an election administered by the National Labor Relations Board. By a 6 - 1 margin, they voted to be represented by IBEW Local #1837 for collective bargaining.

The Credit Specialists are often referred to as "Collectors" because their work in the Meter Department requires them to go door-to-door, collecting from customers whose bills are overdue. They also perform meter disconnects. Most of them work out of an Eversource office in Hooksett but others work out of the Area Work Centers in Keene, Tilton and Rochester.

IBEW Local #1837 already represents more than 400 workers at Eversource in their Generation and Utility divisions. The Credit Specialists will be included in the Utility collective bargaining unit once they have ratified their first contract.

“We're very pleased that the Collectors voted in favor of the Union by such a wide margin,” said IBEW 1837 Business Representative and Organizer Matt Beck. "Many of them worked for PSNH for many years and we're looking forward to having them as active members in our Union."

Sea-3 Members of IBEW 1837 Ratify 2-Year Contract

Sea-3 is a propane handling
facility in Newington, NH.

June 21, 2016 - Union members working at the Sea-3 propane terminal facility in Newington, New Hampshire have voted to ratify a 2-Year contract. Voting concluded Monday afternoon on the agreement which will run through June 30, 2018.

All terms and conditions in the previous contract will continue without change. The 10 members of the IBEW 1837 bargaining unit will receive wage increases of 2 ½% each year.

Sea-3 has indicated that they have not been profitable in recent years. A proposed expansion of the Newington rail facility that could expand the work there has been put on hold by Sea-3’s parent company, Trammo.

IBEW 1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers and Assistant Business Manager Tom Ryan appreciated the work of their fellow negotiating team members: Chief Steward Steve Paine and Steward Al Newton.

Eversource NH Field Techs & Specialists Vote "Union Yes"

June 1, 2016 - Field Technicians A/B/C and Field Technician Specialists working for Eversource in New Hampshire have voted in favor of being represented by IBEW Local #1837 for collective bargaining. There are currently 29 workers in the classifications. They are commonly referred to as “Writers” and are responsible for work associated with the design, maintenance, construction and operation of the Eversource electric distribution system in the Granite State.

The National Labor Relations Board election was conducted by mail because the Field Techs and Specialists work throughout the state in multiple locations. The ballots were tallied on Friday, May 28, 2016 at the NLRB Region One office in Boston with a clear majority voting in favor of the Union. Work will begin soon on contract negotiations for these Eversource employees.

“We’re planning to get to work on bargaining for this group as soon as possible,” said IBEW 1837 Assistant Business Manager Tom Ryan. “We’ll be working with the Writers to select contract team members and to review contract proposals before we sit down at the table with the Company. Since the Writers voted to be included in our existing bargaining unit, it should help to streamline the negotiations and allow us to reach an agreement for them to consider relatively quickly.”

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