IBEW 1837 Speaks Out at Maine Energy, Utility and Technology Committee Orientation Session

January 22, 2013 - IBEW 1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers and Assistant Business Manager Bill Dunn joined spokespeople and executives from Maine's electric utility and generation industry for a special orientation session of the Maine Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology at the Statehouse in Augusta. Representatives of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, the Maine Public Advocate'soffice and ISO New England also spoke or made presentations.

While industry representatives spoke about various initiatives and challenges they were facing, Rogers addressed issues of concern to the Union and our members who work at those companies.

"Since I took my position as Business Manager a year and a half ago our mission has been a simple one: We want to make sure that our members have good, safe jobs with decent wages and benefits, while at the same time recognizing that the employers must be successful, too," Rogers said.

IBEW 1837's members are committed to providing excellent, high quality work for our represented companies, but as utility companies are bought, sold and merged, they often cut the number of skilled workers they employ.

"The fact is this means slower response times during storms and more reliance on outside contractors. With 100-year storms seemingly happening every year or two this is becoming a real problem," Brother Rogers continued. "Our companies are now having to secure contractors days ahead of any potential storm due to the fact that the demand out of state is also great."

The Union is also concerned that the current age of the workers at these companies is going to be an issue in the near future.

"I believe the current average age of our work force at our companies is near 50 and should the economy turn around, a lot of these people will be retiring and leaving a huge void which will be hard to replace quickly," Rogers said.

In closing, Rogers promised to stay engaged with the work of the committee and to be a resource on any issues or bills affecting workers in the industry.