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

Labor News

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.

Frontline Workers at CMP Insulted by Low Company Bonus


CMP Workers restoring power (file photo)

March 10, 2021 - Workers at Central Maine Power Company (CMP) are angry and disappointed by the decision of company officials to give an unusually low 1.4% annual bonus to their non-management employees. At the same time, CMP managers will receive a bonus payout of 8 – 9% of their annual pay.

As we reach the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, CMP’s lineworkers, clerks, dispatchers, customer service representatives and other unionized employees have continued doing their vitally important jobs providing electricity to Maine families and businesses. In the past year, more than 20 storms have led to outages affecting CMP’s customers and CMP’s frontline employees have worked around the clock restoring their power. At the same time, Maine’s largest utility has been saying that their financial condition is excellent, making this low bonus payout even more difficult to understand.

“Our Union members are proud to do the work that they do supporting Maine communities,” said IBEW Assistant Business Manager Renee Gilman. “We know CMP’s management says that they appreciate their employees but their actions speak louder than words. We hope that they will reconsider this insultingly low bonus payment and show their employees that they value them every bit as much as they do their management team.”

Members of IBEW Local 1837 at CMP comprise the largest bargaining unit of the local union, with more than 600 members represented. The contract covers field and support workers in the line departments, meter departments, substations departments, customer service representatives, area and systems dispatchers, engineers, programmers, communications center and field offices, GIS and CADD technicians, offices services personnel, technical services representatives, and a variety of other support personnel.

IBEW 1837 Supports Maine Med RNs’ Effort to Form Union



February 8, 2021 - A union organizing campaign by registered nurses at Maine’s largest hospital has captured the attention of union members and hospital patients throughout Northern New England. It also has earned a rare public endorsement from IBEW Local Union #1837.

“We’re proud to stand with the registered nurses at Maine Medical Center as they join together to form their union,” said Michelle Crocker, President of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local #1837. “Our local union E-Board, made up entirely of rank-and-file union members from our represented companies, voted unanimously to support them in this important effort.”

IBEW Local #1837 represents nearly 1,600 union members in Maine and New Hampshire working at utilities and broadcast outlets.

“We regret that the hospital administration seems to be employing the same tired, old union-busting tactics that their anti-union consultants often favor,” Sister Crocker continued. “We urge Maine Med’s administration to show these heroic RNs the respect they deserve and let them make their own decision without the unrelenting pressure that only serves to make their jobs more difficult.”

Dick Rogers Retires as Business Manager of IBEW 1837


In 2009 while still working at CMP, Rogers
climbed a pole in Augusta to protest a
company contract proposal.

October 1, 2020 - After a career that started as a Summer Helper at Central Maine Power in 1979 and ended with a 9-year stint as Business Manager and Financial Secretary for IBEW 1837, Dick Rogers has retired. IBEW 1837 Assistant Business Manager Tony Sapienza will assume the Local Union’s top job.

“We work for the members,” Rogers said.  “I always kept that in my mind. A number of people don’t realize the time that goes into doing this job, the time and the commitment. It is a 24/7 job because we have shift workers. I tried to return all calls and be a straight shooter.”

Early in his tenure at CMP, Dick realized there was something about being an active participant in the Union that appealed to him.

“In 87 or 88, I watched a Union Steward named Chuck Applebee talking to a manager, say ‘Bob, we have a right to bitch.’ I knew right then that it was a job for me,” Rogers said. He was appointed to be a Union Steward in the early 90’s.

During his three 3-year terms as Business Manager, Rogers was a skilled negotiator of collective bargaining agreements and grievance settlements. Not surprisingly, that’s the part of the job that he liked best.

Schiller Station Closing Is The End of An Era

Schiller Station photo taken in July 2020.
Schiller Station stopped generating
electricity in June 2020.

July 14, 2020 - The long-term and likely permanent closure of Schiller Station in Portsmouth last month not only marked the end of 70 years generating electricity for the Granite State, but it was the end of the bargaining unit that played a pivotal role in the history of IBEW Local #1837.         

Local 1837 was first established at Schiller in 1953 as the framed charter hanging in the Union’s Dover office helps to memorialize. Richard Pray is credited with organizing the union at the power plant and his name is one of 24 on that historic charter document. Brother Pray would become Local 1837’s first Business Manager. Twenty years later in 1973, the International Union would consolidate 11 Locals representing electric utilities in New Hampshire and Maine but keep “1837” as the designation for all of them.

The original charter for Local 1937.
The charter for IBEW 1837 is dated
April 6, 1953 in Portsmouth, NH.

Schiller Station has been owned by Granite Shore Power since it was purchased from Eversource NH (formerly Public Service Company of New Hampshire) in January 2018. The purchase was part of the divestiture of Eversource NH’s generation assets mandated by the New Hampshire Legislature. Previous attempts to deregulate the utility were opposed by PSNH and union members joined the company in providing compelling testimony against the move. However, Eversource NH supported the 2018 divestiture plan and the Union negotiated to minimize any negative effects on members. GSP continues to operate Newington Station right next door to Schiller and Merrimack Station in Bow.

“GSP informed us this spring that they would begin an extended outage at Schiller in June with no end date and they have no intention of running it in the future,” IBEW 1837 Assistant Business Manager Tony Sapienza said. “They’ve laid off the entire workforce.”

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