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Lockout Over: Dominion Hope and Dominion Transmission, Employees Reach Deal

By Staff | Sep 15, 2016

Andrea Loy provided this photo taken outside of the Dominion Hastings plant in Wetzel County of United Gas Workers Local 69 members, ready to head back to work after a week-long lockout ended Wednesday evening.

PINE GROVE – More than 900 workers at Dominion Hope and Dominion Transmission will be back to work this weekend after a week-longlockout ended Wednesday, but negotiations on a long-term contract are far from over.

The agreement announced Wednesday by Dominion and United Gas Workers Union Local 69 extends until April 1. Dominion spokesman Frank Mack said union members are scheduled to return to work with their regular shifts starting at 6 a.m. Saturday.

Dominion will provide back pay for all wages lost due to the lockout, and workers’ health benefits will continue, according to the union.

The lockout, which began Sept. 7, impacted workers in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York and Virginia, including those at Dominion’s Hastings and Galmish plants in Wetzel County and its Ben’s Run plant in Tyler County.

The union noted in a separate statement that its members agreed not to strike in return for Dominion agreeing not to lock out union members for the duration of the agreement. During this time, both sides will continue to negotiate toward a new collective bargaining agreement.

Negotiations are expected to resume Oct. 3, according to the union.

Union officials also asked members to stop picketing outside the plants immediately after the agreement was announced.

Craig Bradford, president of UGWU Local 69, said “this was an effort to provide protection to the public and to return our skilled, dedicated workforce back to their jobs.”

“The membership should be proud of their efforts as they played a major role in this agreement being reached,” Bradford said.

Mack said the agreement ensures Dominion’s customers “will not face the prospect of an unexpected walkout this winter until a new labor contract is reached.” The company has been using supervisors and temporary workers to keep impacted plants operational and meet customer demand during the lockout.

Company officials said they locked out workers because 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.

Union leaders, in response, claimed the lockout was a violation of federal labor laws.

Union members said they were unhappy with Dominion’s contract offer because it would have reduced benefits for retirees and new hires.