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NLRB to hear complaint against FirstEnergy Harrison plant

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The National Labor Relations Board has issued another complaint charging FirstEnergy with violations of federal labor law at Harrison Power Station, according to the Utility Workers Union of America.

The complaint, issued by the NLRB regional office in Pittsburgh on Feb. 24, is similar to the complaint issued by the Board last year, which resulted in a $1.25 million back pay settlement for workers at the Harrison plant in March 2013, according to a UWUA statement. The charge in the new case was also filed by the UWUA on behalf of Harrison employees.

The NLRB has scheduled a hearing on the new complaint for April 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh.

"This complaint is another important step in our commitment to overturn FirstEnergy's bad faith bargaining tactics and to win justice for employees at the Harrison plant," said UWUA National President Michael Langford. "The UWUA will continue defending the rights of Harrison employees until they also win the strong, first union contract they deserve."

The NLRB complaint charges that FirstEnergy illegally cut medical, prescription and dental benefits and raised employees' healthcare premiums in January without bargaining in good faith with the UWUA. The complaint also charges that management has unlawfully refused to provide information that is essential for the UWUA Local 304 bargaining team to negotiate over employee medical benefits, according to the UWUA.

FirstEnergy spokeswoman Stephanie Walton said of the complaint, "FirstEnergy strongly disagrees with the National Labor Relations Board complaint and we believe our position will be validated through the legal process."

Workers at the Harrison plant have voted for representation by UWUA in two elections conducted by the NLRB in 2010 and 2013. Since then, employees' efforts to negotiate a first union contract have been obstructed by bad faith management bargaining tactics, the UWUA statement said.