BGE workers vote on unionizing

Election starts today and ends Friday

December 16, 2010|By Hanah Cho, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. workers will begin voting today on whether they want to unionize for the first time in the utility's 194-year history.

About 1,500 nonsupervisory BGE employees, including linemen and maintenance workers, are eligible to vote in the two-day election that concludes Friday. Workers will vote at eight BGE service centers throughout the Baltimore area.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1900, which represents utility workers at Pepco and Mirant Corp., has tried to organize BGE workers since at least 1996. Union organizers are promising more job security amid recent tumultuous corporate history of BGE parent Constellation Energy Group, which has tried to merge or find a buyer at least three times, albeit unsuccessfully, during the past 15 years.

Meanwhile, BGE executives say a union isn't necessary because workers receive fair compensation and benefits.

BGE remains one of the few utilities in the country that is nonunion.

The last election at the utility in 2000 failed by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. BGE workers also rejected the union in 1996 and 1998.

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