Business Manager Tony Sapienza
Electric System Operators at Unitil Vote to Join Union
September 6, 2012 - The Electric System Operators at Unitil Service Corporation's Centralized Electric Dispatch (CED) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire have voted to be represented by IBEW Local 1837 for collective bargaining. A majority of the workers had indicated their interest in joining the IBEW by signing union authorization cards in July.
In a secret ballot election administered by the National Labor Relations Board, these workers confirmed their original decision by a 3 to 2 margin. Their victory came on the heels of Company tactics that the Union believes constituted unfair labor practices. Unitil gave wage increases to other employees in the same work location but withheld them from the employees who were seeking Union representation. IBEW 1837 has filed charges with the NLRB as a result of those tactics.
This is the second group of System Operators who have chosen to be represented by IBEW 1837 this year. This past May, the System Operators at Bangor Hydro Electric voted 8 - 0 for the Union in their NLRB election. Those workers are in the process of negotiating their first contract with BHE.
"We're pleased that the System Operators have decided to join with many of their co-workers at Unitil to become part of our Union," IBEW 1837 Assistant Business Manager Tom Ryan said. "We look forward to working with these workers and the Company to negotiate their first contract to begin addressing some of the issues of importance to them."
About 75 members of IBEW Local 1837 already work at two New Hampshire locations of Unitil Energy Systems, Inc. (UES): “Capital” in Concord and “Seacoast” in Kensington. These members who work for UES in New Hampshire are employed as Lineworkers, Meter Mechanics, and some as Support Personnel. Unitil is a public utility holding company with electric utility distribution operations in New Hampshire and North Central Massachusetts. Our members help provide electricity to 71,100 customers in the Merrimack River Valley and Seacoast regions of New Hampshire.