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

Union Busting

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.

Workers Speak Out Against NH "Right to Work" Bill


The Zoom hearing had some 100 witnesses and took
more than six hours to complete.

March 25, 2021 - At a hearing of the New Hampshire House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee, the overwhelming majority of people testified in opposition to the so-called “Right to Work” bill. Elected union leaders were joined by rank-and-file union members in urging committee members to vote “Inexpedient to Legislate” on the union-busting bill, SB 61. Similar bills have been considered dozens of times in the State Legislature and have always failed to become law.

“The only purpose of this bill is to increase corporate power at the expense of working people,” IBEW Local #1837 Business Manager Tony Sapienza said. “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 included faith leaders, economists, small business owners and larger companies that rely on union apprenticeship programs for a reliable source of skilled workers.

Corporate lobby groups such as NH BIA were joined by the Virginia-based National Right to Work Committee in support of the bill. All testimony was given on Zoom at the virtual hearing.

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.

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

Working Families in NH Face Another Attack on Their Unions


February 9, 2021 - Anti-union politicians in Concord and out-of-state special interest groups are back at it again. They’re trying to cut wages and benefits for union members by supporting more deceptively titled “Right to Work” legislation, Senate Bill 61.

Right to Work should be called “Right to Work for Less!” It doesn’t create any jobs or give anybody rights. It simply undermines the ability of working people to join together in strong unions by attacking their unions’ financial health. When unions are undermined in this way, wages, benefits and safety for workers all suffer as a result. In fact, what these special interest groups really want to do is abolish unions altogether.

“This will be devastating for the hardworking men and women in New Hampshire,” said IBEW 1837 member Pat Moran, a Troubleshooter at Eversource.  “This will lead to low paying jobs, jobs with less benefits and in general employees that have no care for their employers.”

If Senate Bill 61 is passed by the New Hampshire Senate, it would then move on to the House of Representatives where it would face additional hearings and a vote by that legislative body.

“Our members know that these bills are designed to hurt them and their families and they’re speaking out and contacting their elected representatives,” said IBEW 1837 Business Representative Matthew Beck. “Wages in so-called right to work states are 16% lower on average and why would anybody think that’s a good idea?”

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.”

Portland Holiday FunkFest for FairPoint Strikers on December 22

December 12, 2014 — A lineup of some of Portland’s most prominent musicians is holding a “Holiday FunkFest for FairPoint Strikers” on Monday, December 22, at Empire music hall. The evening will be headlined by the eight-piece band Model Airplane. Adam Waxman and Joe Farrell and special guest Kenya Hall will also perform.

The announcement of the benefit concert at Empire marks the latest surge in public support for the FairPoint strikers. Since the strike began on October 17, the workers’ relief fund has received nearly $150,000 in donations.

“The community support we’ve received has been amazing,” said Peter McLaughlin, chair of the bargaining committee of the nearly 2,000 union workers at FairPoint. “People aren’t just writing us checks, they’re walking our picket lines, they’re coming to our rallies, and now they’re literally singing our song. We can’t thank these musicians enough — and the people all across Maine — who are standing with us to win a Fair Deal for New England.”

The FairPoint strikers have received substantial gifts of food and other items in addition to the nearly $150,000 given to the strike fund. Highlights of the support effort include hundreds of Thanksgiving turkeys and food baskets distributed to strikers by the nonprofit Food AND Medicine; tens of thousands of dollars in grocery store gift cards given out by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; and a drive to collect thousands of Christmas presents for strikers’ children by the Communications Workers of America.

“This outpouring of support has allowed our strikers to remain incredibly strong,” said Don Trementozzi, president of Communications Workers of America Local 1400. “And thanks to the generosity of the artists behind this concert and so many others, we can tell FairPoint executives that we’ll fight one day longer, one day stronger.”

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