Hearing to probe BGE labor practices Union that seeks to organize workers alleges harassment

March 22, 1996|By Kevin L. McQuaid | Kevin L. McQuaid,SUN STAFF

The National Labor Relations Board has lodged a complaint against Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. and intends to hold a hearing on unfair labor practice charges brought by the union attempting to organize the utility's employees.

The NLRB's action responds to International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers' claims that BGE is violating federal labor laws by harassing and discriminating against workers engaged in union activities at its H. A. Wagner, Crane and Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power plants.

Other employees were fired, demoted or feared company reprisals for participating in organizing efforts, according to the union.

The NLRB has not yet scheduled a hearing on the charges, which were filed last August, according to agency documents.

Louis J. D'Amico, the NLRB's regional director for the Baltimore area, said other charges involving BGE are being investigated. He declined to comment further. The union charges and subsequent NLRB action mark the latest in heightening tensions between the utility and the union, which also represents 2,700 employees of Potomac Electric Power Co.

BGE and Pepco are progressing with plans to merge and create Constellation Energy Corp., the nation's ninth-largest utility with $15.3 billion in assets, by March 1997.

BGE, which has been nonunion throughout its 180-year history, has said it hopes employees will reject union representation. The company has hired the Burke Group Inc., a California consultant, to block union efforts and keep Constellation union-free.

The hearing will include charges by Robert S. Tucker, 58, that the company fired the meter reader last July after nearly 15 years for his work with the union.

"I don't look at them as being bad guys, I just look at them as being stupid for how they're acting," Mr. Tucker said in an interview.

Pub Date: 3/22/96

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