Bangor Hydro System Operators Ratify First Contract

November 21, 2012 - System Operators at Bangor Hydro Electric (BHE) have ratified their first contract agreement with the Company. These highly-skilled workers are often referred to as “Dispatchers.”

In late March, in an election administered by the National Labor Relations Board in Bangor, the System Operators at BHE voted 8 – 0 to be represented by IBEW Local 1837 for collective bargaining. During the union organizing campaign, initiated by the System Operators themselves,  the workers raised issues about fairness and unpaid overtime, but the desire to have the ability to negotiate improvements for their future was a primary motivation.

The new contract agreement for the System Operators will take the form of an appendix to the contract already in place for about 140 other IBEW 1837 members who work at BHE. The agreement runs through June 30, 2015 and contains many improvements in the terms and conditions of employment for these formerly non-union workers. Significant upward adjustments were made in the System Operators' wage scales to bring them closer to the industry norms.

"I'm really pleased with all the work our union negotiating team did to make the System Operators' first contract a good one," said IBEW 1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers. "We will always try to bring the union people to the table with the experience and knowledge necessary to bargain effectively and efficiently, and it really paid off."

The IBEW 1837 Negotiating Team included Chief Steward Bob Economy, Steward Renee Gilman, IBEW 1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers, Assistant Business Manager Bill Dunn, IBEW International Representative Ed Collins, System Operators Gregg Wallace and Steve Lemieux. The team was also assisted by IBEW Steward and Dispatcher Doug Ames from Central Maine Power.

In addition to praising the Union Negotiating Team, Brother Rogers expressed his appreciation for the Company's efforts to reach an agreement. "I'd also like to commend Bangor Hydro and their parent company Emera for the good faith and fairness they showed us at the bargaining table," Rogers said.

IBEW 1837 also represents other classifications at BHE in the Customer Service Center, Electrical, Line and Meter departments. Prior to the System Operators, the Customer Service Center was the most recently organized, having become part of the union in the 1980’s.