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

IBEW 1837 Delegation Brings CMP Struggle to the 2009 Maine AFL-CIO Convention

October 23, 2009 - IBEW’s effort to reach a fair contract agreement with CMP was center stage at the Maine AFL-CIO Biennial Convention in Bangor on October 22 & 23. Over 125 delegates and union leaders – representing 60 local unions and union councils from York to Fort Kent – voiced their support for IBEW’s struggle and six major gubernatorial candidates were also asked to stand with workers at CMP.
A 90-minute forum of candidates for Governor was held on the first day of the convention. It included State Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell, former Maine Attorney General Steve Rowe, Thom Rhoads on behalf of Rosa Scarcelli, Donna Dion, State Senator Peter Mills and Lynne Williams. The gubernatorial hopefuls were briefed on the status of the contract talks, CMP’s profitability, and the union’s fight to preserve retirement healthcare benefits. All six candidates left the convention with a much greater understanding of the issues and some of them offered commitments to work with IBEW to try to get CMP to make a fair contract offer to their workers.

The gubernatorial candidates were also asked their views on a wide range of other issues of importance to working people and their unions. All of them expressed varying degrees of support for labor’s agenda.

On the second day of the convention, IBEW Steward Mark Henderson from Alfred addressed the Convention and was warmly received by his union brothers and sisters. After Brother Henderson’s address, IBEW 1837 delegate Glenn Roy from Bangor Hydro made a motion that the Convention send a letter to Maine Governor John Baldacci asking for his support. The motion passed by a unanimous vote. A letter was drafted during lunch and throughout the afternoon convention delegates added their signatures to those of the Maine AFL-CIO leadership.

Earlier in the convention, AFL-CIO President Ed Gorham announced his retirement later this year after 34 years at the helm of the Maine Federation. The news prompted tributes and ovations from many of his brothers and sisters.

At the convention banquet, Solidarity Awards were given to Maine union activists for their tremendous contributions to the cause. Recipients included Maine’s labor historian Charlie Scontras, longtime union organizer Roland Samson, and Judy Brown, president of the nurses’ union at the Eastern Maine Medical Center. We salute them all!

A touching tribute of a different kind was given to the memory of Bruce Roy, the Maine AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer and a longtime union activist who passed away suddenly earlier this year. Tears and laughter came in equal measure as friends and allies recounted some of their stories of time spent with Brother Roy. He will be sorely missed.

IBEW Local Union 1837’s delegation to the convention is pictured below. From left: Carlos Morales, IBEW 1837 President Ray Colello, Alpay Balkir, Asst. Business Manager Bill Dunn, IBEW Organizer Matt Beck, Glenn Roy, Bob Toole, Mark Henderson, Business Manager Cynthia Phinney, and Peter Welch.