BG&E plan to trim $46 million in 1994 could include layoffs First-ever job cuts would be last resort

August 21, 1993|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,Staff Writer

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. has announced plans for a $46 million cost-cutting program next year that could include the first layoffs in company history.

Layoffs would be a last resort in the utility's efforts to trim operating expenses by 7 percent next year, Arthur J. Slusark, a spokesman for the utility, said last night.

BG&E, which has about 9,200 workers, said the plan is designed to boost its competitiveness. Yesterday, the company said tTC revenues and profits rose in the first seven months of the year. BG&E earned $181.7 million on revenues of $1.5 billion.

It's the company's second program to trim operating costs in recent years. In April 1991, the utility reduced its costs by $20 million through an early retirement program, and the elimination of a scheduled wage increase and most overtime for salaried employees.

Subject to approval by its board of directors at its meeting next month, the new program will also include a voluntary early retirement program for employees age 50 or older with 15 or more years of service.

BG&E estimates that 1,400 workers would be eligible for the program. Mr. Slusark said the company could not estimate how many workers might take early retirement, but he noted that 335 of the about 800 workers who qualified for last year's early retirement program accepted the offer.

If the cost-cutting campaign resulted in eliminating jobs, employees who are affected but who are ineligible for early retirement would have two options, effective Jan. 1 Mr. Slusark said.

They could choose a new voluntary severance plan, which would involve a lump-sum payment to employees who leave the company, or they could join the placement-opportunities program.

That program would help displaced employees find new positions within or outside the company over specified a time of 13 to 52 weeks, depending on length of service. Workers would be paid their regular salaries during this period, but once the time limit expired, BG&E employment would end.

Mr. Slusark said that Christian H. Poindexter, BG&E's chairman and chief executive, met with managers Wednesday and asked them to begin looking for areas where they could reduce costs.

Other employees were notified Thursday.

Cost-cutting measures could include eliminating services and positions.

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