BOSTON, June 1, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) — NSTAR Electric & Gas and its largest labor union, Utility Workers Union of America AFL-CIO, Local 369 are pleased to announce that union members have ratified a new four-year contract. The approval paves the way for NSTAR to have its full complement of workers serving customers beginning this Thursday.
“Clearly, acceptance by our workers of this new agreement is good news for our customers,” said NSTAR Chairman, President and CEO Thomas J. May. “Our represented employees will soon be back serving customers under a contract that offers fair pay and benefits along with greater staffing flexibility.”
The four-year agreement will give NSTAR the added flexibility to schedule employees for duty when customers need them most, a key goal of the company during contract talks. The deal also provides for the hiring of additional employees and dedicated staff for preventive maintenance, a key union goal.
“This is an excellent contract for our members. This is a victory for public safety and worker safety. It is a great step forward for the union, for NSTAR and for the communities we serve,” said Gary Sullivan, President, Utility Workers Union of America Local 369. “This contract protects the rights of workers and safeguards the health and pension benefits for employees and retirees.”
Highlights of the four-year contract include:
* Hiring 150 new workers, many of whom will be dedicated to performing system maintenance
* New afternoon shifts for line workers during summer months to improve response time to customers
* Employee contribution to medical plan increases incrementally from 15% to 20% over life of contract
* Three-percent wage increases each year for four years, for a total increase of 12%
* Strong pension plan for employees and continuation of pension benefits for retirees
* Continuation of retiree health and medical benefits, with some cost sharing
* Same-sex domestic partner benefits added for active employees and retirees
“Thanks to our members, to our fellows unions who supported us and thank you to NSTAR customers. Working together with NSTAR management, we were able to make this a better, safer and stronger company,” Sullivan added.
“With this new agreement, NSTAR is well-positioned to serve customers into the future,” May continued. “We’ve committed to maintaining a high level of total employee compensation, while at the same time protecting customers from rising costs.”
NSTAR transmits and delivers electricity and natural gas to 1.4 million customers in Eastern and Central Massachusetts; including over one million electric customers in 81 communities and nearly 300,000 gas customers in 51 communities.
About UWUA Local 369
From Cape Ann to Cape Cod and from Worcester to Boston, the approximate 3000 union energy professionals at UWUA LOCAL 369 keep the cities and towns of Eastern Massachusetts, the Cape and the islands powered with natural gas, electric and nuclear energy. The union represents workers at NSTAR, Entergy, Exelon, Boston Generating, Maverick Construction, Distrigas, and Mirant. The Utility Workers Union of America Local 369 maintains offices at 120 Baystate Drive, Braintree, MA 02184 and 356 Main Street, Fairhaven, MA 02719.