September 15, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Clarksburg, CA – The Dominion Transmission and Dominion Hope companies, one of the nation’s major natural-gas suppliers, locked out 950 workers in six states Sept. 7.
The contract covering the workers, members of United Gas Workers Union Local 69 in West Virginia, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, expired in April. Dominion said it began the lockout after Local 69 refused to allow members to vote on a tentative agreement. The union said the company is trying to cut or eliminate pension and health benefits, particularly for retirees and new hires. “They are proposing to drop my medical benefits, doing away with pension plans, and giving new hires zero benefits,” retiree Robert Bush commented on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Web site Sept. 8. “At the same time, they gave Thomas Farrell the CEO a $20.61 million bonus.” Bush said his pension from Dominion is $869 a month. A Sept. 8 bargaining session supervised by a federal mediator failed to resolve anything. Dominion is trying to run its plants with supervisors and temporary workers, while Local 69 is picketing at 150 sites and says it has “responded with several labor charges being filed.” Read more