BGE, Pepco accused by electrical union IBEW cites attempts to undermine it

June 05, 1996|By KEVIN L. MCQUAID | KEVIN L. MCQUAID,SUN STAFF

The labor union representing Potomac Electric Power Co. workers has filed charges against the Washington utility and Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. over what it claims are attempts to undermine the organization.

As part of the charges, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1900 also has requested that the National Labor Relations Board block the transition process involved in the planned March 1997 merger between the two utilities.

Among the IBEW charges filed are that Pepco has bargained in bad faith regarding future job eliminations and that BGE has "threatened, coerced and intimidated" employees and threatened to fire them.

"Pepco has bargained in bad faith, refused to bargain, engaged in conduct designed to undermine Local 1900 both with its members and potential members at BGE," the NLRB filing stated.

The filing marks the latest occurrence in an escalating battle between the union and the utilities, which intend to eliminate 1,325 positions, or 10 percent, of their work force after the merger.

Last month, for instance, the IBEW filed a petition with the NLRB to hold a union election for BGE employees, capping a year of campaigning. Executives at BGE, which has been union-free for 180 years, have said repeatedly that they believe the future Constellation Energy Corp. will be more competitive and flexible if it is not unionized.

No date for the election has been set.

The latest filing was sparked by a company memorandum May 23 that described an "employee selection process" for future Constellation jobs.

"The selection process was created and proposed by a joint transition management team to select employees for Constellation Energy Corp.," said Nancy S. Moses, a Pepco spokeswoman. "Local 1900 of the IBEW represents Pepco employees and not Constellation employees, so we didn't feel it was necessary to consult with the union. The transition team believes that this is the fairest method that could be presented."

The IBEW filing follows another set of complaints charging the two utilities with unfair labor practices. An initial hearing on the complaints is set for next month.

Pub Date: 6/05/96

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