Business Manager Tony Sapienza
Unitil Electric System Operators Seek to Join Union
August 2, 2012 - A majority of the Electric System Operators at Unitil Service Corp., Inc. in Portsmouth, New Hampshire have decided that they would like to be represented by IBEW Local 1837 for collective bargaining.
The System Operators indicated their interest in union representation by signing authorization cards that were submitted to the National Labor Relations Board. As a result of the Union's petition and the Company's refusal to voluntarily recognize the Union, the NLRB has scheduled a secret ballot election on Wednesday, September 5 in Portsmouth.
Although there are several issues that made the System Operators want to join IBEW, their desire to have a voice in their future at the Company was a major factor.
“I hope everyone will join me in congratulating the System Operators,” IBEW 1837 Organizer Matt Beck said. “They were able to look at their Unitil co-workers already in the IBEW and see that there were numerous benefits to being in the union. In many ways, their situation mirrored that of the System Operators at Bangor Hydro. We hope and expect to have the same outcome here.”
The System Operators at Bangor Hydro Electric voted 8 - 0 to join IBEW 1837 in late March. They are now in the process of negotiating their first contract. Unitil Service Corp., Inc. currently employs five System Operators in the electric division at Portsmouth.
“I am excited to have them joining us," IBEW Business Manager Dick Rogers said. "Over the past four months we've also brought in the Meter Service Reps at Maine Public Service and the System Operators at Bangor Hydro. It shows that more and more people are coming to see the value of union representation."
Other 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. Unitil is a public utility holding company with electric utility distribution operations in these New Hampshire communities as well as North Central Massachusetts.
IBEW Members who work for UES in New Hampshire are employed as Lineworkers, Meter Mechanics, and some as Support Personnel. Our members help provide electricity to 71,100 customers in the Merrimack River Valley and Seacoast regions of New Hampshire.