Maine Labor Advocates To Show Movie SALT OF THE EARTH in Solidarity For IBEW-CWA FairPoint Workers

SALT OF THE EARTH CROPPED

In an expression of solidarity with the IBEW and CWA workers at FairPoint Communications who are struggling for a fair contract, the Community Union of Ellsworth & Hancock County has organized a public showing of the movie Salt of the Earth on July 29.

SALT OF THE EARTH
Tuesday July 29th, 7:00pm
Ellsworth Unitarian Universalist Church
121 Bucksport Rd.

Join the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ellsworth’s Peace & Social Action Committee, Community Union of Ellsworth & Hancock County, IBEW Local 2327, CWA Local 1400, Maine State Association of Letter Carriers, Maine AFL-CIO, Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine, for a free showing of the movie “Salt Of The Earth.”

For more information call 667-4877

Share this flyer with your friends by clicking here for Facebook or here for Twitter.  Also you can download this PDF version of the flyer to post at your worksite or email to your friends.

SALT OF THE EARTH PNH

FairPoint Employees To Hold Strike Authorization Vote

Fairpoint Workers

Fairness at Fairpoint BannerUnion leaders hope to reach agreement before contract expires August 2

Augusta, ME—Leaders of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) System Council T-9 and Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1400 have scheduled a strike authorization vote for July 11-13 to take place across the FairPoint service area. The two unions represent nearly 2,000 employees of FairPoint Communications across Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Their contracts expire on August 2nd and union representatives have been in negotiations with management since April 25th.

“Our members don’t want to strike – they want to continue working for their customers and families,” said Glenn Brackett, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2320 in New Hampshire, one of the three locals that comprise System Council T-9. “Unfortunately, management is unwilling to offer any proposal other than ones they themselves describe as requiring ‘deep, painful, significant concessions’ from workers.”

A strike authorization vote is a necessary precursor to a work stoppage, but does not require the union members actually go on strike. Such a decision could be made later by union leadership. Leaders expect members of both IBEW and CWA in Northern New England to vote overwhelmingly in favor of the strike authorization.

FairPoint workers say they are not just fighting to protect good jobs in their communities but to ensure the best service to customers across Northern New England. They say the company is insisting on the unlimited ability to hire low-wage temporary workers from out of state to do their work. “When companies hire outside contractors to do the work of skilled, local employees, customers are the ones who suffer,” said Brackett.

“Our members want nothing more than to continue working to provide the best service possible to our customers,” said Don Trementozzi, President of CWA Local 1400, which consists of members across Northern New England. “Unfortunately, management continues to insist on deep cuts that we strongly believe will hurt consumers and the hard-working employees who have repeatedly saved this company, while the Wall Street hedge fund owners of FairPoint line their pockets.”

The IBEW Is Organizing Workers In One Of The Most Dangerous Jobs In New England

Screen shot 2014-05-15 at 10.01.23 AM

Every worker deserves to have their voice heard in the workplace, and when it comes to the safety of workers, this is a life and death situation.  The IBEW is working to organize tree trimmers who clear branches from power lines throughout New England.

From the video description:

“Tree-trimming is one of the most dangerous jobs out there, so having a voice on the job is vital. Hear from some New England tree-trimmers who found their voice with the IBEW.”

FairPoint employees attend annual meeting and claim part of company’s contract proposal violates federal law

Fairness at Fairpoint Banner


Fairness at Fairpoint BannerLocal community and union members support Northern New England telecom workers at rally

Charlotte, NC—Employees of Charlotte-based FairPoint Communications traveled from Northern New England to attend the company’s annual shareholders meeting today. The employees—members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA)—came to address top executives and the Board of Directors over concerns they have about the company’s most recent contract proposal. The collective bargaining agreement between FairPoint and 2,000 IBEW and CWA members expires August 2nd.

According to union leaders, the company’s proposed new hire wage rates are, in many cases, below minimum wage levels by as much as 31%. Peter McLaughlin, Business Manager of IBEW 2327, asked management, “Are you aware that your negotiators are therefore asking the unions to agree to wage levels that violate federal and state laws?”

Union members also expressed concern about rising executive compensation at the same time that management has proposed steep cuts to employee pay and benefits and cut jobs. “Company contract proposals want to enforce poverty wages, cut pensions, and slash health care,” said Serina DeWolfe, a member of CWA Local 1400. “Since 2011 our CEO [Paul Sunu] has seen his compensation increase by more than 37%. We want to know why the Board rewarded Mr. Sunu so handsomely even as management eliminated the jobs of hundreds of our co-workers and now proposes to pay new hires poverty wages,” she said.

After the meeting, the FairPoint employees were joined by dozens of local allies for a rally outside the downtown Charlotte hotel where the meeting was held. “We believe every working person deserves respect and a fair deal. FairPoint, a company based right here in North Carolina but owned largely by Wall Street hedge funds, is attempting to destroy good jobs in Northern New England. We came out today to support our brothers and sisters who traveled more than 1,000 miles to demand justice,” said Ashley Howard, a Trustee of the Southern Piedmont Central Labor Council.

Charlotte-based FairPoint Communications is the primary landline telephone provider in Northern New England. The IBEW System Council T-9 includes Locals 2320, 2326, and 2327 and represents approximately 1,700 FairPoint employees in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. The Communications Workers of America Local 1400 represents approximately 300 FairPoint employees in the three states.

IBEW and CWA Open Negotiations Looking For “Fairness At FairPoint”

Fairpoint Workers

Fairness at Fairpoint Banner

Joint statement from Peter McLaughlin, IBEW System Council T-9 President, and Don Trementozzi, CWA Local 1400 President, on the start of bargaining with FairPoint

As we open bargaining today, the IBEW and the CWA understand that both the Union and the Company must resolve many issues before our current agreement expires Saturday, August 2nd at Midnight.

Fairpoint Workers The new contract must provide job security, adequate wages and benefits, safe and reasonable working conditions, and a secure retirement that reward and incentivize this company’s single most valuable asset, our members and your employees.

The Union and your workers hope and expect that the Company basically wants the same things: a safe, healthy work environment; quality products for the customer, and the ability to make money.

When they worked for Verizon, the hard working women and men of the IBEW and CWA in these three northern states were recognized as the finest workers in the entire company footprint. You name it . . . productivity, attendance, or sales.

These proud telephone workers are a big part of this Company’s renewed success. If not for their experience and ability to overcome critical shortcomings in the operational systems that were implemented after cutover, we would not be here talking today. As their Representatives, we expect them to be treated with respect throughout these negotiations and that their value is recognized as a result of these efforts.

The Unions have kept abreast of the industry trends. We obviously recognize the Company needs to survive and prosper in order for our members to have a place to work.  At the same time, we will work diligently to protect bargaining unit work.

I want to make it clear, though, that there will be no harmony in the work places of FairPoint should the company make unreasonable demands, demands that would potentially wipe out years of gains from those who fought the fights before us.

Fairpoint Workers at Lewiston ME garage

Fairpoint Workers at Lewiston ME garage

When given the opportunity, our members have responded to every challenge given them. Be it Fiber to the Tower, NGN, or school and libraries projects. They look forward to new work opportunities brought on by FairPoint’s investment in technology and new product offerings.

For an all-too-brief period, the Unions were able to partner with FairPoint to work through and resolve Union/Management Concerns.  We are not only willing, but we’re eager, to do so again. Our ability to partner with the Company has been non-existent over the past couple of years. FairPoint has kept the Union at arm’s length and dragged its feet to meet with us in contractually binding meetings.

Hopefully, through these negotiations, we’ll be able to turn the page.  We must find solutions that work for both sides and I am confident that we can.

The Union is committed to a respectful and meaningful collective bargaining process. We believe it is the mutual interest of us all to reach a fair and equitable collective bargaining agreement.

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New Hampshire House Passes Bill to Protect Consumers From Destructive Utility Transactions

Telecom workers applaud legislative action

photo by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) via Wikimedia CommonsConcord, NH—By a voice vote, the New Hampshire House of Representatives today passed HB 1314, which will work to ensure better oversight of large telecommunications utility mergers and acquisitions. The bill, introduced by Rep. Linda DiSilvestro (D-Manchester), would create a legislative committee to study the process by which the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) reviews large telecommunications utility transactions on behalf of consumers. The bill came about as a direct response to the 2007 merger between Verizon and FairPoint Communications. 

When FairPoint took over Verizon’s landline operations, consumers suffered,” said Glenn Brackett, Business Manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2320, which represents approximately 700 telecom workers at FairPoint Communications across the state. “Calls were dropped, services were unavailable, and wait times were very lengthy. If this bill were in place then, the PUC could have done its due diligence, seen that FairPoint was unprepared for this merger, and stopped the sale.”

Many other states, including Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont, currently require the PUC to find that public utility mergers or sales are in the public interest before they can proceed. HB 1314 would bring New Hampshire in line with its neighbors.

“We believe the hedge funds that control FairPoint are looking to flip it to other Wall Street investors,” Brackett added. “New Hampshire’s communities need a public interest standard to protect consumers from the next big merger.

HB 1314 now goes to the Senate for approval, followed by signature or veto by the governor. If signed into law, the study committee – made up of five members of the New Hampshire legislature – would meet in June to study the introduction of a public interest finding, with a report due in November.

For more information, visit www.fairnessatfairpoint.com.

 

PSNH Building Mechanics and Attendant Ratify First Contract

IBEW Asst. B.M. Tom Ryan congratulates Tom Eaton on first contract.
IBEW Asst. B.M. Tom Ryan congratulates Tom Eaton on first contract.

IBEW Asst. B.M. Tom Ryan congratulates Tom Eaton on first contract.

Reposted from IBEW 1837

November 26, 2013 – The Building Mechanics and Attendant at Public Service Company of New Hampshire have ratified their first collective bargaining agreement and have officially become members of IBEW Local Union #1837. The contract vote was held this morning at the PSNH garage facility in Manchester.

“I want to thank Building Mechanic Tom Eaton for all the good work he did on this contract and his willingness to also step up and become a Shop Steward,” IBEW 1837 Assistant Business Manager Tom Ryan said. “It’s a good first agreement for these workers, especially since they will be getting the terms and conditions of the large PSNH contract.”

There are currently three Building Mechanics at PSNH. They are responsible for the maintenance, repair and installation of building and mechanical systems including plumbing, heating, electrical work, HVAC, and building controls throughout the company’s service area. The Building Attendant has a wide range of responsibilities including the design, moving and installation of furniture and office systems, as well as other duties.

“We’re pretty excited to align ourselves with IBEW and start to enjoy the benefits that our co-workers share,” Eaton said after the initial National Labor Relations Board vote last June to be represented by the Union. “It’ll be good to have the security of being part of the large bargaining unit.”

“Winning the vote to join the Union is a big first step, but the challenge of securing a first contract can be even more difficult,” IBEW 1837 Organizer Matthew Beck said. “I’m sure all of our members will join me in congratulating them on this great accomplishment.”

“Working with the guys at the Union made it easy for us,” continued Eaton. “It was smooth, easy, and everybody on both sides was very cordial.”

Congresswoman Shea-Porter Meets with Paul O’Connor (Shipyard Metal Trades Council) to Discuss Continuing Effects of Sequestration

Submarine enroute to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

This afternoon, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) met with Paul O’Connor, President of the Shipyard Metal Trades Council, to discuss the destructive effects of sequestration and the need for Congress to replace these reckless cuts with a responsible budget.

March 21, 2013 rally at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

Rally against Sequestration on March 21, 2013 at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

“Our shipyard will not survive another 9 ½ years of sequestration” O’Connor told Shea-Porter during their meeting in her Washington D.C. office. “Sequestration was never intended to be a sensible budget cutting device. It was a scheme of cuts so damaging that Congress would be forced to work together to avoid them. This is a bad law and it must end.”

Workers at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard are among the roughly 650,000 U.S. Department of Defense employees who experienced up to 11 days of unpaid furloughs between July and September, suddenly reducing their income by 20 percent for the duration of the furloughs.

“I cannot stress this enough, Congress must pass a responsible budget that creates jobs and eliminates sequestration,” Shea-Porter said. “The men and women at the Shipyard are essential to our national defense and contribute $660 million to the region’s economy. Continuing the cuts of sequestration is unfair to these men and women, and it is a deeply misguided approach.”

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, sequestration will cost our economy up to 1.6 million jobs through 2014. According to a George Mason University study, the economic impact in New Hampshire is estimated to be $468 million in 2013.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter did not vote for sequestration and she spoke out against these indiscriminate cuts even before she was sworn into the 113th Congress. Since then, she has consistently spoken out in opposition to sequestration’s reckless cuts.

Lights, Camera, New Hampshire: How Movies Can Move The Economy

Image from Amy Clarke Films
Image from Amy Clarke Films

Image from Amy Clarke Films

Do you like movies? I love movies.  I stood in line for hours just to get into a midnight showing of Star Wars (yes, I am a nerd).  I am the reason they make four-disc versions of the Lord of the Rings.  I love to see how movies are made.   Movie making is fun, interesting, and a huge economic boost to local communities.

The average cost just to make a movie is around $35 million.  That is small change compared to the $100 million for major studio motion pictures.  That does not even include the $40-$50 million you need to distribute and promote each movie.

Can you imagine what that money would for to the New Hampshire economy?

That is why people in New Hampshire are working to draw movie-makers to New Hampshire.   Rep Jeffery Goley has submitted HB 540 as a way to create jobs and boost our economy.

HB 540:  This bill establishes a credit against business profits taxes for motion picture production expenditures made in New Hampshire.

In simple terms this means that the state will offer a tax break to motion picture companies who come and film movies here.  Normally I am against most of these types of tax breaks, because they usually only benefits the corporations.  This one is very different.

This is exactly what is happening in New Orleans.

Louisiana’s growing industry has contributed to the continued success of new film production in the United States by leveraging assets that are economically and culturally advantageous to the industry, specifically during times of economic uncertainty. In addition to the generous tax credit, Louisiana has been able to attract and retain consistent film production into the state with the growth of skilled workforce, new infrastructure, and versatility and diversity of locations.

The film production tax credit program was designed to cultivate and sustain a thriving film production industry in Louisiana – and it’s been very successful,” said Stephen Moret, secretary of Louisiana Economic Development. “Louisiana is now No. 3 in the country in film production activity, and the industry supports thousands of jobs in Louisiana that previously did not exist. In fact, third-party economists have estimated the economic impact of film tax credits in Louisiana to be nearly six times the fiscal cost of the tax credits”  (From Forbes)

Lowering the tax for film production has already boosted the local economy in New Orleans. Is there a possibility reducing the tax rate for film producers would result in a loss for New Hampshire? Of course there is; however, there is a significant difference between the film industry and other industries.  The film industry spends millions making a movie and the majority of that money goes to workers. The production company only makes a profit after the film is released.

That brings me back to the $35 million average for film production.

Where does that $35 million go?  How would that $35 million be spent here in NH? The short answer is: people and places.  The production company needs to hire workers to do the filming, and rent places to shoot the scenes.

IATSE 481 Jobs

IATSE 481 Jobs

This is another reason I support this bill.  The jobs we are talking about are not minimum wage Walmart jobs, these are good union wage jobs. The majority of these jobs would go to IATSE members.   IATSE represents over 113,000 stage hands nationwide, who do almost everything except act in the movie.  They represent everyone from the microphone operators to the cinematographers.  They are also the people who build the amazing sets.

Other unions are involved in making a movie:

  • The Screen Actors Guild  (SAG_AFSTRA) represents most of the actors, stunt people, and dancers on the big and small screen.
  • The Screen Writers Guild – that one is a given. (To be eligible for an Academy Award, the writer has to be a member of SWG)
  • The Teamsters are usually tasked with all transportation of people and equipment.
  • The IBEW ensures that all wiring is done correctly and meets safety regulations. They also work with the IATSE crew to provide lighting on and off the set.

There are tons of other union jobs that are used in a movie production.  Movie companies reach out to local unions for police, fire, and EMT details.  There are also unions who represent hair, makeup, and visual effects artists.

Another area that can only be handled by local small businesses: the food!  Every production has food catered for the actors and the crew.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars would be pushed right into local restaurants to deliver food for hundreds of people.  This is something only the local community can provide.

The more movies are filmed in New Hampshire, the more jobs we would create and the more we would boost our local economy.  This bill is an absolute win-win for New Hampshire. I encourage you to contact the NH House Ways and Means Committee and tell them to pass this bill today!

IBEW Airs New Ad Durning CBS Football Games (VIDEO)

IBEW

For well over 100 years the International Brotherhood of Electrical workers have been working for you.  They help to keep our nations electrical grid flowing.  Through harsh winter storms or fall hurricanes, the men and women of the IBEW are there.

They are also there working on pretty much anything that has electricity running through it.  In New Hampshire they also work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard repairing our nations naval fleet.

Today the IBEW is pushing to update our nations infrastructure through new and innovative green energy programs.  They help to design and install new solar energy panels and natural gas power plants.

This week, the IBEW started airing this new advertisement durning CBS football games.