In Maine: IBEW Local 1837
16 Old Winthrop Road
Manchester, ME 04351
Phone: (207) 623-1030, Fax: (207) 621-8384
In New Hampshire:
680 Central Avenue, Suite 201
Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 743-1652, Fax: (603) 743-1654

A Message from Dick Rogers

Friends,

I’m excited to announce to everyone that as much as I love retirement, I’ve decided to get involved with something else I care deeply about: Central Maine Power, Versant Power (Bangor Hydro), their employees and the Maine ratepayers, not necessarily in that order.

While I will continue to consult for IBEW 1837, I’ve also accepted a part-time job with Maine Affordable Energy fighting the effort to seize CMP and Versant. Mainers need to hear the true story about the group “Our Power” and their government takeover effort and the simple fact that it is really Government Controlled Power at a cost to the ratepayers of an estimated $13.5 BILLION Dollars plus Interest.  Make no mistake, this would be controlled by politicians and be subject to changes every time there is a change in the state government leadership. The ratepayers and employees will pay the price when that happens.

Let me be clear about why I’ve accepted this job to stand up for CMP.  I’ve accepted this job enthusiastically in part because of the change in leadership at CMP.   Joe Purington, the new President at CMP, is a Mainer who understands Maine values and will address Ratepayers concerns. His resume is impressive in the utility business. In the short time he’s been in his new position he has brought all decision making back to Maine with key directors already in place, including the Vice President of Electric Operations Adam Desrosiers, another trusted leader.

I believe my 39+ years of experience at CMP, a decade as the Business Manager of IBEW 1837 and the fact I was there when this idea was initially formed give me the credibility to speak out from a very unique perspective.

In the near future you will hearing and seeing more concerning the facts about this adventure.

Thanks, Dick

IBEW Local 1837 Union Members at WGME-TV Ratify New Contract After Contentious Negotiations


Chief Steward Jack Amrock distributed ballots
to members who ratified the agreement on
a new 3-year contract.

December 9, 2021- Members of IBEW Local #1837 at WGME-TV 13 in Portland have approved a new 3-year contract agreement with substantial raises in 2022 for all members in all job classifications, ranging from 5.2% up to 49.9%. Most members will see a wage increase of at least 7% in 2022, followed by an additional 5% over the next two years. The contract vote took place on Wednesday, December 8, in a church basement near the Portland studios of the CBS affiliate.

IBEW 1837 represents more than 40 people who work behind the scenes at WGME-TV 13 as well as WPFO-TV 23, a Fox affiliate. Both are owned and operated by Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group. These hardworking broadcast professionals include the Operating Technicians, News Editors, Assignment Editors, Photographers, Engineers, Producers and Directors who create and produce a variety of news and public service programs, commercials and special projects. 

The contract vote came after a series of union meetings starting in early summer where members prepared contract proposals and discussed the problems they were having at work. Like many workers, they first struggled to do their jobs through the pandemic and later had to contend with a ransomware attack against Sinclair that forced them to scramble just to keep the stations on the air.

When the company’s wage offer during negotiations fell far short of what the Union Negotiating Team was seeking, members voted overwhelmingly to reject the Company offer and authorize a strike.

While the Union’s lead negotiator continued discussions with a Federal Mediator and Company attorney, members got organized and prepared to strike, painting picket signs and recruiting volunteer phone tree captains to keep members informed. Eventually, the Company found more money and improved their wage offer, finally showing the appreciation for the value of their employees that they had expressed across the bargaining table. This led to a Union Negotiating Committee recommendation to approve the contract and another membership vote, this time ending in ratification. 

Maine Governor’s Veto of Consumer-Owned Utility Bill Sustained


The legislature convened on July 19 to
consider vetoes including LD 1708.

July 19, 2021 - The Maine House of Representatives failed to override the veto by Governor Janet Mills of a consumer-owned utility bill 68- 65, far short of the necessary 2/3 margin. That means that voters will not see a referendum question creating Pine Tree Power on the ballot this fall. If approved by voters, Pine Tree Power would have replaced Central Maine Power and Versant Power with a consumer-owned utility. The bill’s proponents pledged to collect enough signatures to place the question before voters in November 2022.

When a prior version of the legislation was first introduced in January 2019, IBEW 1837 was committed to participating in the process to ensure that employees and ratepayers' interests were at the forefront of any proposed legislation. After a careful and painstaking review of the final legislation by our legal counsel, the Union decided to come out against the bill. Of the utmost concern was the possible loss of private sector collective bargaining rights guaranteed under the National Labor Relations Act if the new utility is classified as a public employer.

“We’re pleased that Gov. Mills has decided to veto LD 1708, the Pine Tree Power bill, and that the Legislature has sustained her veto,” IBEW 1837 Business Manager Tony Sapienza said. “While we appreciate and recognize efforts made by lead sponsor Rep. Seth Berry to craft legislation that would be good for our members and Maine ratepayers, the change to a consumer-owned utility would bring with it tremendous risks and uncertainty. Although Maine’s investor-owned electric utilities are far from perfect, we’re committed to working with them to improve service for Maine’s ratepayers and to making those utilities better places to work for our members throughout the state. Therefore, we are opposed to replacing Central Maine Power and Versant Power with a consumer-owned utility.”

In order to place a referendum creating a consumer-owned utility on next year’s ballot, the number of valid signatures required would be 10 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the last gubernatorial election. That means that supporters would need to gather at least 63,067 signatures from registered voters in Maine, a difficult but not insurmountable task.

Both utilities – particularly Central Maine Power – have suffered in recent years before the court of public opinion. Central Maine Power has been criticized for their storm response and billing issues. CMP’s pursuit of the New England Clean Energy Connect project to bring in power from Hydro Quebec is deeply unpopular with some voters.

Union Members Played Key Role in NH "Right to Work" Battle


Hundreds of Union members turned out to line the streets outside
the NH Sportsplex in Bedford the morning of the final House vote
.

June 4, 2021 - In a tremendous victory for working people and their unions in the Granite State, the New Hampshire House of Representatives soundly defeated “Right to Work” legislation on Thursday,  June 3, by a vote of 199-175. That was followed by a 197-178 vote to indefinitely postpone the bill, effectively killing it until at least 2023. The morning of the vote, hundreds of Union members carrying “Vote No” signs lined the streets leading to the NH Sportsplex in Bedford where the session was held.

“This legislative victory was only possible because of the great work done by members of IBEW 1837 and other unions,” said IBEW Local 1837 Organizer and Business Representative Matt Beck. “They contacted their elected representatives to urge them to defeat Right-to-Work, a bill which proponents consider just a first step to eliminating unions altogether.”

The Right-to-Work fight garnered national attention from corporate interests and the Virginia-based National Right to Work Committee after Democrats lost control of the New Hampshire House and Senate last November. Gov. Chris Sununu had supported Right-to-Work in the past and indicated he would sign it if it reached his desk.

When Senate Bill 61, Right-to-Work was introduced, organizers went to work to identify pro-labor Republicans who could help defeat the bill in the Senate or House. After Senate Bill 61 narrowly passed the State Senate 13-11, the focus was squarely on the House and the virtual public hearing in the House Labor Committee that was held on Zoom.

Opponents testifying or signing-in opposed to Right-to-Work easily outnumbered those in favor. Prior to the hearing, it was announced that just over 200 people from New Hampshire had signed on in support of the bill on the NH General Court website while more than 1,700 had signed on in opposition to it, a margin of more than 8 to 1 against Right-to-Work.

“The only purpose of this bill is to increase corporate power at the expense of working people,” IBEW Local 1837 Business Manager Tony Sapienza testified during the hearing. “Obviously, wages and benefits will erode faster or grow slower if corporations are empowered and collective bargaining rights are eroded.”

In addition to workers and their unions, other opponents of the bill testifying included faith leaders, economists, small business owners and larger companies that rely on union apprenticeship programs for a reliable source of skilled workers.

One of the last people to testify against the bill at the House hearing was Pat Moran, a Troubleshooter for Eversource NH and a Chief Steward for IBEW Local 1837.

“I feel strongly that Senate Bill 61, the so-called Right to Work bill does not belong in New Hampshire. I believe this is a means to break unions,” Brother Moran said. “The name itself is a lie. Right to Work doesn’t give anyone any rights or any work. It is meant to hurt unions financially in the hope that they will wither and die.”

After the Republican majority on the House Labor Committee voted the bill out “Ought to Pass,” members of IBEW 1837 participated in virtual meetings with members of the House to talk about the importance of their union in helping to keep them safe on the job and ensuring their good pay and benefits. They also called and emailed their State Reps to ask them to support working families by opposing Right-to-Work.

IBEW 1837 Delegates to 40th Int'l Convention Selected



May 15, 2021 - The following members of IBEW Local #1837 have been nominated and selected to serve as delegates to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Worker's 40th International Convention in Chicago:  IBEW 1837 Business Manager Tony Sapienza, IBEW 1837 President Michelle Crocker, IBEW 1837 Organizer/Business Representative Matt Beck, IBEW 1837 Vice President Bob Mc Neff, Kitty Kilroy, and Bill Tarallo. Since the number of nominees was equal to the number of delegates for our Local, there will not be an election held for those seats.

The 40th International Convention was originally scheduled for late August - early September of this year but has been postponed until May 9 - 13, 2022. Delegates — more than 1,900 of them — will still meet in Chicago and represent 725,000 members and retirees from more than 900 locals. 

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