NLRB Issues Complaints Against NU Call Center for Unfair Labor Practices

June 6, 2013 - Customer Service Representatives at the Northeast Utilities Call Center trying to organize a Union have been repeatedly subjected to policies and practices that violate their rights under the National Labor Relations Act, leading the Regional Director of Region One of the National Labor Relations Board to authorize issuance of complaints against the Company.

More than 150 women and men in the job classification work at the Manchester, New Hampshire facility, answering calls about billing and service for several NU companies including Public Service Company of New Hampshire and Connecticut Light and Power.

A secret ballot union election scheduled for April 11 was blocked when IBEW Local #1837 filed charges against the Company with the NLRB. Although the Company protested their innocence and even accused the Union of filing “frivolous” charges, the NLRB Regional Director’s decision shows that the Union’s charges were by no means frivolous.

The NLRB has authorized complaints against NU in response to their illegal anti-union activities including threats, interrogation, and creating the impression that employees are under surveillance as a result of their support for the Union, as well as maintaining personnel policies that violate federal law. The NLRB Regional Director will soon give NU the option of settling the cases by posting a Notice to Employees, and promising that it will no longer violate their rights, or of going to trial before an NLRB judge.

“NU’s behavior has been deplorable throughout this campaign and a great example of why our labor laws are broken in this country,” said Matt Beck, an Organizer for IBEW Local #1837. “The Customer Service Representatives have been subjected to numerous captive audience meetings and repeated lies from NU management, but none of that is illegal. Where NU crossed the line was when they threatened, interrogated and coerced employees, making them feel afraid to vote for the union that so many of them want and need.”

IBEW  remains committed to having a free and fair Union election for the NU Customer Service Representatives as soon as the rights of the workers are fully recognized and protected by the Company.

International Brotherhood of Electric Workers Local Union #1837 represents more than 1,500 employees at electric utilities and television stations in New Hampshire and Maine. Northeast Utilities operates New England’s largest utility system with more than 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers in New Hampshire, Connecticut and Massachusetts, according to their website.