Business Manager Tony Sapienza
Warehouse Workers Ratify First Contract at NHEC
March 25, 2011 - Four Warehouse Workers at the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) ratified their first contract on Friday, March 25. It took almost nine months and 25 negotiating sessions to reach this important milestone.
The term of the contract is through September 2012. IBEW 1837 will be negotiating both the Warehouse Workers’ and the larger NHEC bargaining unit future agreements at the same time.
After what the negotiators for the Union termed “extremely tough” contract talks, IBEW managed to obtain a small revaluation of all the classifications as well as a 3% wage adjustment. The Union reluctantly agreed to a change from a defined benefit pension to a defined contribution pension (401(k) format) where the Company contributes 5.5% of base wage and will match an additional 4.5% voluntary contribution by the employee for a total of 14.5%. The employees will also receive a lump sum payment to be distributed however they deem appropriate, either as a 401(k) contribution or cash.
“We were really pleased to get a first contract,” said Tom Ryan, IBEW Assistant Business Manager. “The Warehouse Workers appreciate the value of a having a contract so the Company can’t change their terms and conditions at will.”
The Warehouse Workers and their Union Negotiating Team received solid support from other IBEW members at NHEC throughout the contract talks. The Union Team consisted of Renee Lefevre from the Warehouse, IBEW International Representative Ed Collins, IBEW Assistant Business Manager Tom Ryan, and IBEW Administrative Assistant Sue Ekola. The Warehouse Workers covered by the new contract include Stockperson/Drivers, Office Specialist, and Contracts Coordinator/Purchasing.
NHEC is a member-owned and controlled distributor of electricity where approximately 90 members of IBEW 1837 are employed helping to deliver electricity to a wide swath of New Hampshire.