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Labor board charges FirstEnergy unfair at Harrison Station

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The National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint Jan. 31 against FirstEnergy for alleged unfair labor practices at the Harrison Power Station in Harrison County.

The complaint alleges that the company cut Harrison employees' annual increases and bonuses, health care and retiree health care, short-term and long-term disability and other benefits without bargaining with the union.

The complaint is based on charges the UWUA filed with the NLRB in May, September and October 2012.

FirstEnergy bought previous Harrison Power Station owner Allegheny Energy in February 2011.

Some Allegheny workers were organized, according to UWUA General Counsel Samuel McKnight; others were not. The 160 or so production, operations and maintenance workers at the plant had been organized as the Local 304 of the Utility Workers Union of American since October 2010.

"Every worker at that plant has several thousand dollars at stake in this thing," McKnight said. "We are absolutely committed to seeing to it that the workers at this facility who stood up and decided they wanted to be represented by a union are going to get justice."

However, "all kinds of office personnel, semi-professional personnel, clerical personnel and customer service personnel are non-unionized throughout FirstEnergy and the former Allegheny subsidiaries, which are now FirstEnergy subsidiaries," McKnight added. "Those folks are taking a terrific beating."

Among the remedies sought by the UWUA for the Local 304 are back pay and reinstatement of benefits at previous levels.

FirstEnergy is reviewing the filing to see if there is any merit to the allegations, according to spokesman Mark Durbin.

The company is required to respond to the NLRB complaint by Feb. 14.

A hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on March 19 at the J. Harper Meredith Building at 200 Jackson Street in Fairmont.