Business Manager Tony Sapienza
Community Rally for Striking NH Co-op Workers on Wednesday, May 16
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.