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N.H. Electric Co-op Strike Goes to Mediation

May 25, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

PLYMOUTH, N.H.—A federal mediator joined talks between the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1837 May 11, seeking to resolve the strike that began May 7. The Laconia Daily Sun reported that “there was no immediate breakthrough,” but the mediator would work with bother sides to continue negotiations. The company said it had accepted the union’s request that it offer the 83 union employees the same 401k and pension benefits as non-union employees, which would be “a dramatic increase” for them. But its proposal included language that would enable management to change those benefits for both groups of workers “whenever they wanted to, without the need to negotiate,” Local 1837 responded. “No other electric utilities with union contracts are known to have similar language in their collective bargaining agreements.” The union said it would agree to changes if an independent review verified that the plan were in financial trouble, but “the company refused and wanted full control.” It also said that co-op line workers, who fix power poles and electrical wires and respond during power outages, make on average $2 an hour less than line workers at other New Hampshire utilities. Read more

May 25, 2018

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