February 26, 2014
For immediate release:
Shinnston, W.Va. The National Labor Relations Board has issued a complaint charging FirstEnergy Corp. with violations of federal labor law at the company’s Harrison power plant near Shinnston, W.Va.
The complaint, issued by the NLRB regional office in Pittsburgh on February 24, follows a similar complaint issued by the Board last year, which resulted in a $1.25 million backpay settlement for workers at the Harrison plant in March 2013. The charge in the new case was also filed by the Utility Workers Union of America, which represents workers at the power station.
“This complaint is another important step in our commitment to overturn FirstEnergy’s bad faith bargaining tactics and to win justice for employees at the Harrison plant,” declared UWUA National President Michael Langford. “The UWUA will continue defending the rights of Harrison employees until they also win the strong, first union contract they deserve.”
The NLRB complaint charges that FirstEnergy illegally cut medical, prescription, and dental benefits and raised employees’ healthcare premiums in January without bargaining in good faith with the UWUA. The complaint also charges that management has unlawfully refused to provide healthcare information that is essential for the union to negotiate over employee medical benefits.
The March 2013 settlement required the company to pay backpay to Harrison employees after the company had unilaterally cut employee medical as well as other benefits without negotiating with the union. The NLRB has currently scheduled a hearing on the new complaint for April 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh.
Workers at the Harrison plant have voted for representation by UWUA in two elections conducted by the NLRB in 2010 and 2013. Since then, employees’ efforts to negotiate a first union contract have been obstructed by bad faith management bargaining tactics.
“Utility workers at Harrison work hard every day to generate reliable electric power for consumers,” stated Bernie LaBelle, UWUA National Representative for employees at the West Virginia plant. “They deserve nothing less than a fair labor agreement to provide income and job security for their families.”
The UWUA represents 50,000 working men and women in the utility and related industries throughout the U.S., including 3,200 FirstEnergy employees in West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Maryland. The NLRB complaint is available from the UWUA upon request.
For more information contact:
Sam McKnight, 248/354-9650