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Utility Workers negotiate with Allegheny Energy

May 11, 2001

Utility Workers negotiate with Allegheny Energy



Hagerstown

By ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

Allegheny Energy is negotiating a labor contract with a union representing more than 1,100 of its employees.

The current contract was scheduled to expire April 30, but has been extended until the end of May.

Local 102 of the Utility Workers Union of America could strike once the contract runs out, but it has no plans to do so, said Phillip Hutzell of Boonsboro, a lead lineman who has worked for the company for 23 years.

The two sides have several negotiating sessions planned this month.

The key issues include working conditions, safety conditions, wages and benefits, said Joe Moser of Sharpsburg, a lead lineman and executive vice president of Local 102.

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Retirement and pension plans are also being discussed, said Hutzell, the shop steward for one group of workers in the local.

Allegheny Power is a division of Allegheny Energy.

Allen Staggers, Allegheny Energy's manager of communications, said the company won't comment on the negotiations.

Moser, a 33-year employee and member of the union's negotiating committee, said employees have seen the company enjoy record earnings and "we'd like to share in the profits."

"We feel that we've helped make the company profitable," he said.

The last labor contract was for three years. It was extended two more years in 1999.

The 1,150 employees in Local 102 include linemen, substation workers, meter readers, truck drivers, mechanics and storage personnel, union officers said. The territory covers Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia.

Staggers said Allegheny Energy has about 5,000 employees, including those not in the union.

Workers are generally happy with their jobs and their colleagues, Hutzell said. "Every day, we start work laughing and we end work laughing."

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