Union Members at PSNH Ratify New 4-Year Contract Agreement

June 10, 2013 – Members of IBEW Local #1837 in both Utility and Generation at Public Service Company of New Hampshire have approved a new 4-year contract agreement with the Company. The contract calls for an 11¼% (3, 2.75, 2.5 & 3%) wage increase over the term of the agreement with cash bonuses for the workers in each of the first two years.

“While it certainly wasn’t everything we wanted, the Committee worked hard to get the best deal possible,” said IBEW 1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers.

A particular challenge for Union negotiators was the Company’s determined stance that employees of all Northeast Utilities companies should be paying the same amount for health insurance. This became a significant issue since NU’s decision to switch core plans meant higher costs for our members who wanted to “buy up” to coverage comparable to their existing health insurance plan. IBEW countered that our members should not be required to pay a higher percentage of their incomes than employees of NU subsidiaries in Massachusetts or Connecticut, but the Company didn’t agree. Ultimately, PSNH’s last and final offer included cash bonuses that were designed to alleviate some of the pain of the higher healthcare premiums.

Another high priority for the IBEW Negotiating Team was to preserve the options for taking unpaid leaves of absence and for obtaining additional unpaid vacation time. This was important to Union members although PSNH had resisted it since NU intends to eliminate it at all their companies. Thanks to the Union’s persistence, the Company eventually relented and dropped their proposal to eliminate this benefit.

There were allowance increases negotiated for qualified members who wear EH (electrical hazard) footwear or FR (fire retardant) clothing.

After 13 bargaining sessions, PSNH delivered their last and final offer to the Union Negotiating Team, who brought it without a committee recommendation to our members for their vote. Voting took place in various locations throughout the state from June 3 – June 10 with the ballots tallied after the polls closed.

“I’d like to thank the committee for working hard and tirelessly in a very difficult negotiation,” said IBEW Assistant Business Manager Tom Ryan. “It was a real pleasure to work with them.”

In addition to Brother Rogers and Brother Ryan, the Union Negotiating Team included Pam Paquette, Kerry Guptill, Tracy Houghton, Rick Simons, Tony Sapienza, Jay Davidson, Bill Tarallo, Becky Johnson, Jim Hale, Eric Madson, Dave Ouellette, Justin McNeff, Mark Easter and IBEW 1837 Administrative  Assistant Sue Ekola.