Business Manager Tony Sapienza
Maine Public Service Customer Service Representatives Decide to Join Union
November 21, 2012 - Following up on a series of organizing victories in New Hampshire and Maine, IBEW 1837's membership development efforts have also paid off in Presque Isle. A majority of the Customer Service Representatives at Maine Public Service (MPS) have signed union authorization cards indicating that they want IBEW Local 1837 to represent them for the purpose of collective bargaining.
To their credit, the Company agreed to accept the majority decision of their employees after verifying the authenticity of the authorization cards by a neutral third party, in this case, a faith leader from the Bangor area. This process - often called "card check" - is permitted under the National Labor Relations Act, although is used less frequently these days than in the past.
The decision of these workers comes at a time when Emera and the Union are likely to begin discussions on integration of MPS operations with Bangor Hydro Electric.
"We think the best way to ensure fair treatment for the Customer Service Representatives at MPS is for them to have union representation, just like their counterparts at BHE," said IBEW 1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers. "We look forward to negotiating their first contract and appreciate the Company's willingness to voluntarily recognize the union and to incorporate them into the larger, pre-existing agreement."
Nearly 50 members of IBEW 1837 work at Maine Public Service in Presque Isle, Fort Kent, Caribou, and Island Falls, Maine. IBEW 1837 members who work at MPS are Lineworkers, Stockhandlers, Technical Service Workers, and Meter Representatives. Prior to the Customer Service Representatives, the Meter Representatives were the most recently organized, earlier this year.