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

Inside IBEW 1837

IBEW 1837 Assistant Business Manager Bill Dunn Retires

Bill Dunn
Bill Dunn

October 1, 2015 - After serving union members for more than 20 years, first as an IBEW Shop Steward and then as an Assistant Business Manager beginning in 2006, Bill Dunn retired this week from his position with IBEW and his job at Central Maine Power Company.

Brother Dunn, 55, started working for Maine’s largest utility in 1983. After 2 ½ years in the Meter Department, Bill moved over to the Line Department where he spent the rest of his years at CMP. He first became a Union Shop Steward in 1994 at the urging of Bob Dodge, the Assistant Business Manager that Bill would replace 12 years later.

“I became a Steward on the immediate heels of CMP going through a layoff the wrong way,” Dunn said. “It didn’t affect me directly but it affected everyone around me and it just ticked me off.”

Dodge suggested that Bill could channel that energy and anger into something constructive by becoming a Steward. He moved from CMP into his union staff position with the encouragement of other Stewards when he was appointed by then-Business Manager Cynthia Phinney.

Dunn helped countless members during his nine years as an Assistant Business Manager, managing their grievances and arbitrations, answering questions about their contacts (and helping to negotiate those contracts) while maintaining a good rapport and earning the respect of people on both sides of the table.

“The best part of the job was attempting to resolve problems and situations for people but understanding that not everyone would be happy,” Brother Dunn said. “The most satisfying moment was prevailing in the CMP AMI (Automated Metering Infrastructure) arbitration knowing that everyone who wanted a job could come back to work. That was a 2 ½ year process!”

Popular Eversource System Electrician Retires After 45 Years

Tom Rzasa
Tom Rzasa

August 26, 2015 - It would be hard to find someone at Eversource more well-liked than Tom Rzasa, a System Electrician at 1250 Hooksett Rd. T&D who retired at the end of July after 45 years with the Company. A friendly and easy-going guy, Brother Rzasa has seen a lot of changes since he started at New Hampshire’s largest electric utility in 1970.

 “It was a much different feel back then, more like family,” Tom said. “I was there about a week when they brought me in and took my picture with people and everyone was saying hello and calling me by name. Someone said ‘Do you know who that was? That was (PSNH President) Bill Tallman.’ I thought, wow, I just started here and he knows who I am. I’m pretty sure that (Eversource CEO) Tom May doesn’t know who I am.”

Rzasa started out as a Hydro Operator at Amoskeag for a few years, then moved into the Construction Department for a 13 or 14-year stretch before settling in as a System Electrician. Through it all, he maintained a positive and upbeat attitude.

“I worked with the best guys,” he said. “We had fun and enjoyed doing the work together. 45 years went by fast. I had a great run.”

New Contract Ratified at Emera Maine

July 16, 2015 - IBEW 1837 members at Emera ratified a new 5-year contract on July 2nd that includes wage increases in most classifications and comparatively modest increases in health insurance premiums for all members. Voter turnout was high with more than 90% of the 200 workers in the bargaining unit casting ballots in either Bangor or Presque Isle.

Over the term of the agreement most of the workers will see a nearly 15% wage increase with a notable exception being the 20 Customer Service Representatives and three Stockhandlers in the southern part of the Emera territory. The Company had proposed wage cuts for these classifications in order to bring them to parity with their workers in the northern part of the state. Eventually the Company agreed to freeze their pay while giving the CSR’s and Stockhandlers annual lump sum payments of $650 and $1,000, respectively.

“It’s still a struggle for membership to see the huge profits these companies are making and then see some of the initial proposals that they put on the table,”  IBEW Local #1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers told the Bangor Daily News.

CSR's at Eversource in NH Make Second Bid to Join Union

Eversource Customer Experience

UPDATE: July 8, 2015 - The final result of the NLRB election was a narrow Union loss 64 - 60. As a result these workers will continue to be unrepresented employees of Eversource.

June 29, 2015 - A majority of the Customer Service Representatives at Eversource Customer Experience in Manchester, New Hampshire (also known as the "Call Center") have signed union authorization cards to be represented by IBEW Local #1837. An election to certify the Union as their bargaining representative will be administered by the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday, July 8.

There are 130 Customer Service Representatives employed by the Company at their facility on West Brook Street.  Two years ago, when the Customer Service Representatives first tried to join the Union, IBEW was forced to file multiple unfair labor practice charges against the Company for their actions and policies. The Customer Service Representatives ultimately lost that election in 2013 but have renewed their campaign with a great sense of determination and purpose.

“Shortly after their election loss, Customer Service Representatives endured changes in their benefits plan that made many previous union opponents think that they’d voted the wrong way,” IBEW 1837 Organizer Matthew Beck said. “It wasn’t long before they were asking when they could try again.”

IBEW 1837 Members at Eversource Generation in NH Ratify Extension Agreement

Amoskeag and Schiller Stations

May 21, 2015 - IBEW members working in the electric generation assets of Eversource NH (formerly PSNH) have overwhelmingly ratified an agreement that extends their current contract while providing additional employee protections if the fossil or hydro facilities are sold or closed.

Eversource entered into settlement talks related to the divestiture of their generating assets as the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission was responding to a law passed last year that gave 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.

The union ratification vote came as the New Hampshire House of Representatives is preparing to vote on Senate Bill 221 to securitize stranded debt if a divestiture settlement is reached and approved by the PUC. The Union has participated in the settlement talks and found widespread support among the legislature and the State Office of Energy Planning for employee protections for workers who may be affected by divestiture.

The Union represents nearly 175 members at the Merrimack Station, Newington Station and Schiller Station fossil fuel plants as well as at hydropower generating facilities throughout the state. They also represent generation maintenance workers. All of these dedicated workers may soon find themselves working for another employer. It’s also possible they could be out of work if divestiture is ordered and no buyers are found for one or more of the power generating stations.

The protections in the agreement include enhanced severance pay, guaranteed retirement benefits, access to quality, affordable healthcare coverage, tuition assistance, and greater bidding rights into other jobs at Eversource without impacting the rights of other union members in the Utility branch of the company. The agreement also guarantees that any new buyer will continue to honor the existing contract for no less than two years.

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