Business Manager Tony Sapienza
Unitil CED Electric System Operators Ratify First Contract Accord
August 8, 2013 - The Electric System Operators at Unitil Service Corporation's Centralized Electric Dispatch (CED) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire have ratified their first collective bargaining agreement.
A majority of the workers had voted last September to be represented by IBEW Local #1837 in a secret ballot election administered by the National Labor Relations Board.
"We're pleased that the System Operators have ratified their first contract," IBEW 1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers said. "Our Union Negotiating Team all thought it was a good agreement and had recommended its passage."
The Unitil Electric System Operators will enjoy improvements in their pay, health insurance coverage and vacation selection as a result of the new agreement. At the conclusion of the contract on May 31, 2016, wage disparities will be largely eliminated in the bargaining unit with all five System Operators receiving equal pay for equal work.
"We’re grateful to both Mike Pouliot and Mike Bechard for the work they did for the Union Negotiating Team to help craft this agreement," IBEW 1837 Assistant Business Manager Tom Ryan said. "This is a great first step for the System Operators and we appreciate the Company’s professionalism in the negotiating process."
For the System Operators, the new deal means being able to make personal plans in way that they never could before.
“Vacation scheduling in the contract means we can take time off when we want to take it instead of when the Company says we can,” System Operator Mike Pouliot said. “That will mean a big improvement in our quality of life.”
Brother Pouliot expressed overall satisfaction with the agreement and is already looking ahead to their second contract less than three years from now.
“A big benefit from our contract is that we will all have equal pay and be starting from the same platform. There won’t be this great disparity,” Pouliot added.
In addition to Brothers Rogers, Ryan, Pouliot and Bechard, the Union Negotiating Team was aided by IBEW Local #1837 Administrative Assistant Susan Ekola.
About 45 members of IBEW Local 1837 already work at two New Hampshire locations of Unitil Energy Systems, Inc. (UES): “Capital” in Concord and “Seacoast” in Kensington. These members who work for UES in New Hampshire are employed as Lineworkers, Meter Mechanics, and some as Support Personnel. Unitil is a public utility holding company with electric utility distribution operations in New Hampshire and North Central Massachusetts. Our members help provide electricity to 71,100 customers in the Merrimack River Valley and Seacoast regions of New Hampshire.