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Allegheny Energy, union reach tentative contract agreement

April 30, 2002|BY DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

dank@herald-mail.com

Allegheny Energy and the union that represents about 20 percent of its work force have reached a tentative agreement on a five-year contract, the company and union said in a joint statement Monday.

The Utility Workers Union of America System Local 102 executive board will review and approve the contract. Then the agreement will go to the union members for ratification meetings, according to the statement.

The union represents about 1,165 Allegheny Energy employees, mostly line and power station workers, company spokeswoman Debra A. Beck said.

Allegheny Energy has about 5,900 employees, and 1.7 million customers in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Ohio.

Union and management representatives have been negotiating with the help of a federal mediator for at least a year, Beck said.

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The last union contract expired April 30, 2001. Union members have been working under the terms of that contract since then, she said.

During the past year, union representatives have said they were unhappy with a previous contract offer from the company, which they said would have lessened the company's payment for union members' hospitalization, revise work rules to establish 10-hour workdays and change work starting times.

Around the beginning of July 2001, union members rejected a company contract offer and authorized union negotiators to call a strike.

Union Local 102 President William J. Sterner could not be reached for comment Monday.

In the joint statement, Sterner was quoted as saying the negotiating committee "believes that this tentative agreement accomplishes many of the goals the union membership had set. After many months of intense bargaining, this agreement has good provisions to enable both parties to solve long-standing problems."

Beck declined to comment on the specifics of the contract.

In the statement, company chief negotiator Robert Summers was quoted as saying, "We believe that we have reached a fair agreement that meets the needs for our employees and our company."

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