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

Legislative

IBEW 1837 Member Poised to Serve in Maine Legislature

Kevin O'Connell
Kevin O'Connell

January 23, 2020 - Kevin O’Connell, a longtime member of IBEW Local #1837, First Class Lineworker at EmeraMaine and former Brewer mayor, has been nominated as the Democratic candidate for the House District 128 special election. The vacancy in that seat is a result of the passing of the late State Representative Arthur C. "Archie" Verow.

“I’m proud to carry on the legacy of service that was so important to Archie,” said O’Connell. “In him, we had a representative that represented the values of this city. I am committed to doing my best to be that person for Brewer.”

O’Connell, 59, who was born and raised in Brewer, served two years as Brewer’s mayor and nine years on the city council. O’Connell served 24 years in the military, six years as a First Sergeant, with his final deployment being in Baghdad. He’s worked at Bangor Hydro and EmeraMaine since March 6, 1989.

“I love Brewer, I love our city of great people, and I am committed to representing us in Augusta,” said O’Connell.

Lawmakers, Union Reps and Customers Express Concerns About Proposed Emera Maine Sale to ENMAX


Senate President Troy Jackson

August 7, 2019 - Senate President Troy Jackson, Rep. Seth Berry, IBEW Local 1837 and Emera ratepayers held a press conference in Orono to share their concerns about the proposed sale of Emera Maine to ENMAX of Calgary, Alberta.

Mainers are worried about the proposed sale of Emera Maine to ENMAX and the impact it could have on Emera Maine’s workers as well as the ratepayers of Maine’s second largest electric utility.

Specifically, they are concerned that ENMAX is paying too much ($1.3 Billion, all financed by debt) and is too small a company to provide the service Emera Maine’s ratepayers need and deserve. Cuts in staffing and service along with substantially increased electric rates may be necessary to help finance this proposed acquisition.

“More than 150,000 people in Northern Maine depend on Emera Maine for electricity, including myself. With so much at stake, we need to make sure the sale of Emera to ENMAX doesn’t leave hardworking families and seniors in the dark,” said President Jackson. “The PUC shouldn’t allow this deal to move forward unless it is in the best interest of Mainer ratepayers.”

Rep. Seth Berry is the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology.

"This sale has all the hallmarks of the FairPoint sale," Berry said, "and that is something that we need to avoid."

Consumer-Owned Electric Utility Proposed for Maine; Union Contracts to be Protected

Dick Rogers
IBEW 1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers 
paused during the new conference to
answer a reporter's question.

January 28, 2019 - At a news conference at the Maine State House, Rep. Seth Berry, House Chair of the Energy and Utilities Committee, announced that he was submitting legislation to form a new consumer-owned utility.

The Maine Power Delivery Authority would not be run by the state and would not be financed by tax dollars in any way. If enacted, Maine Power would acquire all transmission and distribution assets of Central Maine Power and Emera Maine, compensating them fairly. All IBEW 1837 members would continue to be covered under the terms of their collective bargaining agreements.

IBEW 1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers read the following statement at the news conference: "IBEW 1837 supports the consideration of any and all initiatives, including the proposed “Maine Power Delivery” bill, which would reposition Maine’s utilities for greater local control and better service at lower costs. IBEW 1837 believes that the current structure and workforce model, driven in large part due to the current utility ownership at CMP and Emera, has had a significant negative impact on all employees, and more importantly, the ratepayers in Maine. The union is committed to participating in the process to ensure that employees and ratepayers' interests are at the forefront of any proposed legislation. Our members and retirees have a wealth of experiences and knowledge and look forward to assisting in the development of any proposed legislation."

When questioned by a reporter, Rogers said that our represented lineworkers, clerks, customer service representatives and other workers have been struggling to maintain the quality of service that ratepayers deserve, in large part due to inadequate staffing. Rogers stopped short of endorsing the bill, saying that he needs to wait to see the final language in the legislation.

IBEW 1837 Members Play Important Role in Defeating NH "Right to Work" Bill

IBEW 1837 members attending hearing.
IBEW 1837 members and retirees attended
hearings in Concord on "Right to Work."

February 20, 2017 - Members and retirees from IBEW 1837 joined with their union Brothers and Sisters throughout the Granite State and helped defeat a so-called “Right to Work” bill in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, 200 – 177. By doing so, the state’s Labor Movement overcame tremendous odds in thwarting a top policy priority of new Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who had GOP majorities in both bodies of the state legislature.

So-called “Right to Work” was narrowly approved by the Senate, 12 – 11, although its passage there was never really in doubt. 

Everyone knew it would be a tougher sell in the House.  Even though Republicans control that legislative chamber by a 226 – 173 margin, some of them are Union members or supporters of collective bargaining rights who recognize the true purpose of these union-busting bills. In the end, a total of 32 Republicans joined Democrats in the House and voted against “Right to Work.”

Hundreds of union members packed Representatives Hall at the State House in Concord for a public hearing on the bill before the House Labor Committee. Dozens of union members and allies from faith and community groups testified in opposition to it while only a handful of people testified in favor of “Right to Work.” Two IBEW 1837 members from Eversource testified in opposition: Rebecca Johnson, a Control Room Operator from Schiller Station, and Pat Moran, a Troubleshooter from the Hooksett AWC.

“To work beside someone who is enjoying the benefits I am paying for is not right and you know it,” Sister Johnson said, referring to “free riders” who are protected by the contract but choose to pay nothing in “Right to Work” states. “The bottom line is this bill is really not about paying dues so much as it is about splintering workers to their own corners and to take away hard fought benefits.”

IBEW 1837 Members at Eversource Generation in NH Ratify Extension Agreement

Amoskeag and Schiller Stations

May 21, 2015 - IBEW members working in the electric generation assets of Eversource NH (formerly PSNH) have overwhelmingly ratified an agreement that extends their current contract while providing additional employee protections if the fossil or hydro facilities are sold or closed.

Eversource entered into settlement talks related to the divestiture of their generating assets as the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission was responding to a law passed last year that gave them the authority to force the Company to sell them if it was in the “economic interest” of ratepayers. PSNH had been under pressure to sell in large part because costs associated with a state-mandated "scrubber" to reduce mercury emissions at Merrimack Station had led to substantial upward pressure on residential electric rates.

The union ratification vote came as the New Hampshire House of Representatives is preparing to vote on Senate Bill 221 to securitize stranded debt if a divestiture settlement is reached and approved by the PUC. The Union has participated in the settlement talks and found widespread support among the legislature and the State Office of Energy Planning for employee protections for workers who may be affected by divestiture.

The Union represents nearly 175 members at the Merrimack Station, Newington Station and Schiller Station fossil fuel plants as well as at hydropower generating facilities throughout the state. They also represent generation maintenance workers. All of these dedicated workers may soon find themselves working for another employer. It’s also possible they could be out of work if divestiture is ordered and no buyers are found for one or more of the power generating stations.

The protections in the agreement include enhanced severance pay, guaranteed retirement benefits, access to quality, affordable healthcare coverage, tuition assistance, and greater bidding rights into other jobs at Eversource without impacting the rights of other union members in the Utility branch of the company. The agreement also guarantees that any new buyer will continue to honor the existing contract for no less than two years.

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