PLYMOUTH — Negotiators for the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative and the union representing 83 striking workers returned to the bargaining table Wednesday.

Representatives of management and Local 1837 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers were trying to iron the differences separating the sides with the help of a federal mediator. The mediator joined the talks last Friday.

As of mid-afternoon Wednesday there was no word whether the sides were any closer to a settlement that would bring an end to the strike which began May 7.

Union workers for the Plymouth-based member-owned utility voted to go on strike May 3 and walked off the job four days later.

So far the two sides have been unable to come to terms on retirement benefits. The utility has offered union workers the same retirement benefits as non-union employees, including senior management. However, the union wants any future changes in the retirement program to be subject to negotiation with the union, whereas the company wants to be able to make changes unilaterally.

Meanwhile, the union staged another solidarity rally outside the co-op headquarters on Tenney Mountain Highway Wednesday. A similar rally was held last Friday.

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