Business Manager Tony Sapienza
Renee Gilman Joins IBEW 1837 Union Staff as Business Representative
February 29, 2016 - After nearly 20 years as an IBEW union member employed by Bangor Hydro and its successor company Emera Maine, Renee Gilman is now working for Local #1837 as a Business Representative. The newly-created Business Representative position is part of a staff restructuring plan proposed by Business Manager Dick Rogers and approved by the IBEW 1837 Executive Board following the recent retirement of Assistant Business Manager Bill Dunn.
Sister Gilman started working as a Customer Service Representative for Bangor Hydro in 1997. She enjoyed interacting with the utility’s customers (“most of them, anyway”) and built close relationships with her co-workers at the Call Center. She wasn’t there long before she took an active role in her union.
“I came from a Union family, so it’s something that’s always been important to me. I became a steward a couple of years after I started with the company,” Renee said. “I’ve known about Unions for as long as I can remember. My Dad worked in a mill the whole time I was growing up. He was a steward and then a Chief Steward there, so it’s something we talked about a lot. He never backed down from the company, even when it would have been a lot easier for him. I think he enjoyed the challenge.”
In her new job as an IBEW 1837 Business Representative, Sister Gilman is currently working with and for our members at Emera Maine, which is made up of the former Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service companies. She keeps busy communicating with members on a daily basis via phone, text and email, and working through their questions, the majority of which are contract related. Renee also works closely with Dick Rogers handling grievances and a wide variety of member issues while working with company representatives to try to resolve those issues in a way that benefits our members.
Union building and preparing for the next generation of members at our represented companies are also high on the list of Gilman’s priorities in her new role.
“Whether that means educating new members about what belonging to a Union means, or talking to high school kids about Union job opportunities, I think it’s something we all have a responsibility to do,” Renee said. “We have a lot of members reaching the end of their careers, and we will need qualified people to take their places.”
When she’s not working hard to help represent our members, Renee Gilman enjoys spending time with her daughters Elaina and Madi, and her husband Aaron, a Lead Mechanic for Emera Maine in Bangor. They love riding sleds in the winter and boating in the summer. They also enjoy family road trips, especially to Pennsylvania and Washington D.C., Renee said, “even though they usually end up like something out of a Clark Griswold movie!”