A lockout of about 140 FirstEnergy Corp. union employees in central Pennsylvania that started in late November could be ending.
Union workers at Penelec, the FirstEnergy operating company that serves central Pennsylvania, are being told to return to work next week under FirstEnergy’s “last, best and final offer,” the Akron-based utility announced on Monday.
FirstEnergy managers and supervisors took over the duties of union workers since the lockout began Nov. 25.
The Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 180 represents line and substation workers, meter readers, technicians and other employees. The workers had been without a contract since Aug. 31 and declined the company’s final offer before the lockout deadline.
“There are still some points in that last, best and final offer … that we’ll negotiate with UWUA,” FirstEnergy spokesman Scott Surgeoner said. “That will lead to a signed contract and then a ratified contract by the membership.”
The company contacted union members on Monday and gave them work assignments, said Bob Whalen, president of UWUA System Local 102, part of Local 180.
“This was a unilateral action by the company,” he said. “It’s not something we agreed to.”
He said he couldn’t comment further until learning more about the action.
The lockout is believed to be the first for both FirstEnergy and the former Allegheny Energy, which FirstEnergy bought in 2011.
Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902.