Business Manager Tony Sapienza
IBEW 1837 Members at CMP Ratify New 4-Year Contract
May 5, 2021 - IBEW members working at Central Maine Power voted to approve a new collective bargaining agreement with guaranteed wage increases and annual bonus payments, and without significant concessions of any kind. Voting took place at 15 different locations throughout the state on Wednesday, May 5th. The contract takes effect immediately and runs through April 30, 2025.
“The ratification of the new 4-year contract agreement with Central Maine Power is a significant step in the right direction for our members and for Maine’s largest electric utility,” said IBEW 1837 Business Manager Tony Sapienza. “After months of negotiations we were able to come to an agreement that the negotiating committee and the Union leadership could recommend to our members. Our members are proud of the important work they do serving CMP’s many thousands of customers and this agreement demonstrates that the company recognizes the value of our commitment to them.”
The Union and the Company met a total of 15 times in March and April at CMP’s General Office in Augusta with both sides limiting the number of people at the bargaining table as a COVID-related precaution. The Union side brought in a limited number of other members beyond the core negotiating committee for one or two days at a time to gain the benefit of their specific knowledge and experience.
Union negotiators sought wage adjustments across the board and presented detailed data when and where it was available to bolster their arguments. Ultimately, all job classifications received at least a single 2% wage adjustment prior to the general wage increases of 3% per year in each of the four years. Some job classifications, including First Class Lineworkers, received larger wage adjustments as the data conclusively proved they were underpaid and the Company found it increasingly difficult to attract and retain people in those positions.
The Company initially proposed eliminating sick time “banks” for employees hired prior to 2014, switching to bi-weekly pay, changing some permanent holidays and instituting penalties for those who fail to meet a minimum response level for call-outs. Those proposals were eventually dropped. Union members will continue to have the same health insurance and sick time benefits without any changes.
“We appreciate the company’s willingness to make wage adjustments in all job classifications while leaving the benefits our members have earned largely intact. While it’s clear from the feedback we’ve received from our members that those wage adjustments didn’t satisfy everybody, we believe that we can continue having a productive dialogue with the company about these and other issues moving forward.”
In addition to Business Manager Sapienza, Assistant Business Manager Renee Gilman led the Union Negotiating Team with retired Business Manager Dick Rogers serving as a Senior Advisor. They were joined by Derek Willette, Terri MacDonald, Michelle Crocker and Greg Fortin. Other members of the team who were only able to sit at the table for a portion of the talks because of COVID restrictions included Eric Lunt, Cale Dyer, Dan Washburn, Troy Ellis, April Barnes, Tim Gordon and Todd Hatch.
More than 675 members of IBEW Local #1837 at CMP serve 646,000 customers from Kittery to Jackman and operate from nine service centers across Maine. They comprise the largest bargaining unit of the Local. The contract covers field and support workers in the line departments, meter departments, substations departments, customer service representatives, area and systems dispatchers, engineers, programmers, communications center and field offices, GIS and CADD technicians, offices services personnel, technical services representatives, and a variety of other support personnel.