PLYMOUTH, NH – Negotiating teams from New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local #1837 have reached a tentative agreement on the terms of a new three-and-a-half-year contract that would bring 83 striking NHEC union employees back to work.
The agreement still needs to be ratified by the union employees and approved by the NHEC Board of Directors, which is expected to occur early next week.
The union employees, including all NHEC lineworkers, went on strike on May 7, 2018 after more than 20 negotiating sessions failed to produce a successor agreement to a five-and-a-half-year contract that expired on April 30, 2018. In its contract proposal, the company offered union employees the same 401k and pension benefits as non-union employees, but its proposal retained the right to make changes to the benefits plan if it became necessary to make the same changes to benefits for non-union employees. The union objected to the company’s proposal, claiming it would not bargain away its right to negotiate future changes in benefits.
On May 16, with the help of a federal mediator, the two sides reached an agreement that does not include the language that the union had objected to and provides for modest increases in pay, 401K and pension benefits.
“Our union employees are skilled, dedicated professionals who serve our members well,” said NHEC President/CEO Steve Camerino. “We’re hopeful that they will be back on the job soon.”
Until the contract is ratified by the union and approved by the NHEC Board, contract line crews will continue to restore power outages and protect public safety.
NHEC is a member-owned electric distribution cooperative serving 84,000 homes and businesses in 115 New Hampshire communities.