In Maine: IBEW Local 1837
16 Old Winthrop Road
Manchester, ME 04351
Phone: (207) 623-1030, Fax: (207) 621-8384
In New Hampshire:
680 Central Avenue, Suite 201
Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 743-1652, Fax: (603) 743-1654

Obama Taps Friend of IBEW 1837 as Commerce Secretary


Gov. Bill Richardson and IBEW 1837 Asst. Business Manager Tom Ryan discuss union organizing last year (2007).
Gov. Bill Richardson and IBEW 1837 Asst. Business Manager Tom Ryan discuss union organizing last year (2007).

December 4, 2008 - New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who stood with IBEW 1837 during last year's union organizing campaign at PSNH, has been nominated by President-elect Barack Obama to serve in his administration as Commerce Secretary. In the spring of 2007, Richardson had repeated discussions with IBEW 1837 Asst. Business Manager Tom Ryan about how he might help our union.


Last year, while campaigning in New Hampshire for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Richardson expressed concern to PSNH representatives about their anti-union tactics against IBEW 1837's drive to organize "Writers" at the company. Field Technicians and Field Technician Specialists (also known as "Writers") had been subjected to mandatory anti-union meetings at company facilities.

Gov. Richardson was in Portsmouth touring Public Service of New Hampshire's Schiller plant on Sunday, May 6, 2007. The power plant, which had converted one of its coal-fired boilers to wood chips, was seen by the former Energy Secretary as a model for helping to cut our reliance on fossil fuels while safeguarding the environment. While he was "impressed by the plant," Richardson took the opportunity to support the efforts of the Writers to join IBEW Local 1837.

Richardson, a supporter of the Employee Free Choice Act, asked PSNH representatives why they were fighting the organization campaign. He reminded company officials that Union labor often provides the best quality work. During the deep conversation that followed, PSNH representatives told Gov. Richardson that they valued their relationship with IBEW 1837 and would share his concerns with PSNH executives.

Bill Richardson's nomination as Commerce Secretary clearly illustrates the motivation behind the AFL-CIO's support of Barack Obama during the presidential campaign. The appointment of labor-friendly officials in these important positions - particularly those that impact our economy - is likely to benefit working people and their unions in many ways. Richardson's past government experience includes stints as Energy Secretary and also as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

"During his time in state government and Congress, and in two tours of duty in the Cabinet, Bill has seen from just about every angle what makes our economy work and what keeps it from working better," President-elect Obama said while announcing the nomination. Confirmation by the United States Senate is expected to be trouble-free.

January 5, 2009 Update - Citing an ongoing investigation of one of his political donors that would likely delay his confirmation, Gov. Bill Richardson has withdrawn his name for consideration as Commerce Secretary.