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Bargaining Session Spurs No Change

By Staff | Sep 9, 2016

Photo by Bruce Crawford Dominion employees locked out of work picket outside the company’s Hastings plant in Wetzel County. A mediation session Thursday in Clarksburg produced no results.

PINE GROVE – Union employees of Dominion Hope and Dominion Transmission continue to be locked out of work after a bargaining session failed Thursday between union leadership and the company.

More than 900 Dominion Hope and Dominion Transmission employees were locked out of work early Wednesday. This includes dozens of employees at Dominion’s locations at Galmish and Hastings in Wetzel County and Ben’s Run in Tyler County.

No other mediation meetings have been scheduled at this time, although union officials indicated late Thursday both sides are willing to continue talks.

A late evening social media post made via the United Gas Workers Union Local 69 official Facebook page stated that a federal mediator met with the union and company in Clarksburg and held “extensive discussions with both sides.”

Union officials said they made a proposal to the company that was rejected, but did not provide details of the offer.

“Both parties agreed that neither side walked away from the table and the possibility of further negotiations exists and communication lines are open going forth,” the post states.

Company officials did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

The lockout impacts workers in six states, including West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York and Virginia.

A release issued by the company on Wednesday states it locked out employees after the union “refused to take a tentative contract agreement to union members for a vote.” The company claims the union had agreed to vote on the contract and recommend approval.

The company said Wednesday it is using supervisors and temporary workers to meet customer demand during the lockout.

Local 69 President Craig Bradford said the union considers the lockout a clear violation of federal law and has responded by filing several labor charges.

As negotiations continued Thursday, state officials were also in Clarksburg to share information on unemployment benefits available to those impacted by the lockout.

WorkForce West Virginia hosted two well-attended meetings at the former Sheraton Inn in Clarksburg Thursday. Workers who missed the meetings can still begin the process by signing up at their local office.

Union officials encouraged members to contact their stewards or directors for more information on the process.

Picketing will continue at the affected locations during the lockout.