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

Labor News

IBEW 1837's Ray Colello Steps Down After Nearly 25 Years as President

IBEW 1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers thanked
outgoing President Ray Colello (center) for his
many years of dedicated service to IBEW 1837 as
incoming President Bill Tarallo looked on.

January 6, 2016 - Throughout the years, first as a Union Steward and Chief Steward in the 70’s and then as a Union Executive Board Representative throughout the 80’s, leading to his role as President of IBEW Local #1837 beginning in 1991, Ray Colello has always been a devout and dedicated trade unionist. His decision last month to pass the baton to Vice President Bill Tarallo to finish out his term was one he made because he thought it would be best for the Union.

Brother Colello started his full-time career as a General Helper for Central Maine Power in 1972 working at Wyman Station on Cousins Island, Maine. Later, with deregulation of electric utilities and after the sale to Florida Power and Light (now known as NextEra), Ray would work as a Senior Production Tech A as a shift worker for the last ten years. His father had worked at Wyman beginning in 1964 after several years at the South Portland Cape Steam Station beginning in the mid-to-late 50’s.

“I learned most of what I knew about unions from my dad and joined the union as soon as I could,” Colello said. “Union members have somebody to speak for them when they are mistreated. They also have the right to a safe workplace. If the working people are put in a bad situation, it’s not just you that the company is affecting but your family and your family’s future.”

In more than 24 years as President of the Local, Ray Colello has faced many difficult challenges but feels especially proud that the union’s leaders and members stepped up to make changes to the dues structure that were necessary to be effective representing our members.

“We often had a financial inability to represent people when we needed to (before the dues change). The change to the by-laws that included a percentage of pay (2 hours) gave us the financial structure we have now,” he said.

A change of this magnitude required President Colello and other E-Board members to travel throughout Maine and New Hampshire for three months to meet with members and explain the need for the change. The Local was having difficulty meeting operating expenses and the decision to arbitrate some member grievances had to be weighed against the significant costs of the process.

IBEW 1837 Member Bids to Become Maine AFL-CIO President

Cynthia Phinney would be the
first woman elected to be
Maine AFL-CIO President.

UPDATE: October 23, 2015 - Cynthia Phinney won election to a 4-year term as President of the Maine AFL-CIO at their state convention in Bangor.

October 15, 2015 - Cynthia Phinney's dedication to making things better for working people is a big part of who she is and what she has done since first joining the Union in 1992 as an employee of Central Maine Power Company. The first person hired strictly as an Organizer for IBEW Local #1837, she held that job for several years before serving two terms as the Union's Business Manager and Financial Secretary. Her decision to run for President of the Maine AFL-CIO seemed to be a natural progression to those who know her, and to Cynthia herself.

"Certainly, some of my experience being an active participant in our Local has helped both to shape my vision and give me the skills for this position," Sister Phinney said.

Delegates to the Maine AFL-CIO State Convention in Bangor from October 22 - 23 will elect a successor to President Don Berry, who will be retiring at the end of his current term. John Portella, a Machinist from Local S6 is also a candidate for the post.

Since leaving the staff of IBEW Local #1837 and returning to Central Maine Power as a Meter Reader, Cynthia has remained active in the Labor Movement, attending many IBEW meetings, serving on the Maine AFL-CIO Executive Board and as Secretary of the Western Maine Labor Council. Phinney has also stepped up to become President of the Maine Fair Trade Campaign, serving the coalition seeking to educate the public and political leaders about the failed NAFTA-style trade model that threatens the jobs of Maine workers.

Union Members Celebrate Labor's Day in New Hampshire and Maine

September 1, 2015 - The first Monday in September is a day for workers: Labor's Day. It's a popular time for union members and their families to possibly enjoy one last taste of summer while taking stock of the many challenges facing working people today. Special guest speakers and awards are part of the program at some events sponsored by the two State AFL-CIO's and some Central Labor Councils.

Breakfasts and barbecues in New Hampshire and Maine draw hundreds of workers every year and Labor Day 2015 will be no exception. Some events are free or low priced, while others request a larger donation to benefit those labor organizations.

Here's a handy list below of some of this year's activities with contact information if you need additional info:

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.”

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