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 202
Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 743-1652, Fax: (603) 743-1654

Bargaining

Eversource NH Members Narrowly Ratify New 3-Year Deal

Union Negotiating Team
The Union Negotiating Team during a break
arly in the bargaining process. 
Photo: Sue Ekola.

June 13, 2017 - Members of IBEW Local #1837 employed by Eversource NH in the Utility Group have narrowly voted to ratify a new, 3-year contract agreement. Although the Union has a policy against publicly disclosing the exact voting tally, IBEW Local #1837 officials described the outcome as “extremely close.”

Voting took place throughout last week at locations throughout New Hampshire and the ballots were counted Friday evening at the IBEW 1837 office in Dover, New Hampshire. The Union Negotiating Team did not offer a formal recommendation to IBEW 1837 members to approve or reject the agreement. While many members expressed satisfaction with the overall package, others were disappointed that some of the Company’s proposals remained in their final offer.

Members of IBEW Local #1837 employed at Eversource NH’s Generation assets are also affected by the ratified agreement. They voted in May of 2015 to extend their contract as the Company was moving ahead with the divestiture and sale of Merrimack Station, Newington Station and Schiller Station fossil fuel plants and their hydropower generating facilities. Those members agreed at that time to accept any  general wage increases and benefit changes negotiated by the Utility Group. That divestiture process is now nearing completion.

Both groups of workers are set to receive a 3% wage increase in each of the next three years. Members in the Utility Group will also receive a 60 cents per hour wage revaluation prior to the first increase in effect as of June 4, 2017.

The new contract includes changes in the employee holiday schedule with the removal of the day after Thanksgiving and the addition of the Martin Luther King Day holiday as well as an additional floating holiday under the new agreement. There are also changes in the Company vacation policy.

A new disability plan will be put into effect during the term of the agreement. All new employees will be participating in the disability plan and incumbent members will have the one time option to opt into the new plan, or opt into the grandfathered plan during open enrollment in October 2017.Caps will put in place for the cost of employee health insurance benefits for the next three years.

Another significant change for many of our members is the transition from a straight 8-hour work day to an 8 ½-hour work day with a half-hour unpaid lunch period. The Union negotiated a delay in this Company-proposed change to June 30, 2018, to allow members to make necessary changes in their personal arrangements for childcare and other needs.

Field Techs at Eversource Ratify Their First Contract Agreement

Field Tech Union Bargaining Team
IBEW 1837 Asst. B.M. Tom Ryan, Field
Technicians Vaughn Taylor & Dan Pariseau
during a break in contract talks.

December 22, 2016 - Union and Company negotiators reached agreement this month on a first contract for the Eversource Field Technicians and Specialists. The agreement was ratified overwhelmingly by the Field Techs and is an addendum to the collective bargaining agreement for the Utility Group at New Hampshire’s largest electric utility. 

“I think it is a good agreement for the Field Techs and I’m pleased we were able to include them in our current contract with Eversource,” said Tom Ryan, IBEW 1837 Assistant Business Manager for New Hampshire. “We were able to maintain most of the benefits that our members enjoy.”

One of the biggest successes for the Union Bargaining Team was stabilizing and equalizing the pay rates for the classifications covered by the agreement. Under the new agreement, anyone that has been a Field Technician “A” for at least one year will be able to promote to Specialist upon successful completion of an exam. Formerly, there was only one Specialist per district and employees had to wait for an opening. Every Field Technician and Specialist received a wage increase to at least cover the cost of their union dues and most received more than that. Since the contract expires on May 31, it is likely that they will receive an additional wage adjustment upon ratification of the successor agreement.

New Owner, New Contract for IBEW Members at Granite Ridge

March 25, 2016 - An 18-month collective bargaining agreement for 20 members of IBEW 1837 working at Granite Ridge has been ratified and will go into effect on Sunday, March 27, 2016. It’s the first contract for the union local with Calpine Corporation, a Houston-based generator of electricity from natural gas and geothermal resources with more than 80 power plants.

Calpine purchased the Londonderry, New Hampshire, gas-fired plant that had been operated by NAES and has renamed it Granite Ridge Operating LLC. IBEW Local #1837 immediately reached out to the new Company and sought to reach a new agreement that would benefit our members. The previous agreement with North American Energy Systems (NAES) did not include contract successor language, so Business Manager Dick Rogers and Assistant Business Manager Tom Ryan knew it was vital to build an amicable and mutually constructive relationship with the new owners as quickly as possible.

“We’re pleased that we were able to reach an agreement quickly with Calpine and that they recognized the skills that our members bring to their new asset,” Brother Ryan said. “We look forward to working with them to ensure that Granite Ridge remains profitable and our members continue to enjoy the good jobs that they have there.”

Members will begin the new contract with the 3 3/8% increase that had previously been negotiated with NAES and will receive a 2 ½% wage adjustment on the contract’s first anniversary of March 27, 2017. The contract will run through September 27, 2017, with an agreement that any future wage adjustment would not take effect until at least March 27, 2018.

New Contract Ratified at Emera Maine

July 16, 2015 - IBEW 1837 members at Emera ratified a new 5-year contract on July 2nd that includes wage increases in most classifications and comparatively modest increases in health insurance premiums for all members. Voter turnout was high with more than 90% of the 200 workers in the bargaining unit casting ballots in either Bangor or Presque Isle.

Over the term of the agreement most of the workers will see a nearly 15% wage increase with a notable exception being the 20 Customer Service Representatives and three Stockhandlers in the southern part of the Emera territory. The Company had proposed wage cuts for these classifications in order to bring them to parity with their workers in the northern part of the state. Eventually the Company agreed to freeze their pay while giving the CSR’s and Stockhandlers annual lump sum payments of $650 and $1,000, respectively.

“It’s still a struggle for membership to see the huge profits these companies are making and then see some of the initial proposals that they put on the table,”  IBEW Local #1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers told the Bangor Daily News.

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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