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Unions form alliance to take on Allegheny Power

Utility Workers, Mine Workers, and the AFL-CIO Call on Allegheny Power to Recognize Workers' Demand to Form Union

(Washington, January 27, 2005) - - The Utility Workers Union of America, United Mine Workers of America, and the AFL-CIO have joined together to call on Allegheny Power of Pennsylvania and West Virginia to acknowledge and agree to the requests of call center workers who want to form a union to improve their lives. Workers in the Fairmont, West Virginia call center have been struggling to better their economic situations and workplace standards by organizing a union with the utility workers union, but their efforts have been stymied by Allegheny Power. At a time when Allegheny Power is asking much of the states and of its workers, the unions say company must team with workers and move forward with their requests form a union.

"Since the company consolidated and moved its call service center to West Virginia in a move to save costs, the workers are the ones bearing the burden," said Donald E. Wightman, National President UWUA. "The majority of Allegheny Power's call center employees are women who want to form a union to achieve wages that will help them to better support their families." The unions are asking Allegheny Power to agree to be neutral and to recognize the call center workers' choice, if a majority of workers sign authorization cards asking for union representation.

"The UMWA's goal is to help our sisters and brothers in the utility industry realize their hopes of someday belonging to a union," said UMWA President Cecil Roberts. "Like the coal miners who built America's energy industry, our nation's call center workers provide an important service role. And like coal miners, they deserve the right to union representation and good workplace benefits and protections."

"Two national unions, the Mine Workers and the Utility Workers, as well as the AFL-CIO, are linked in solidarity with the workers in the Allegheny Power call centers who are struggling to form a union," said Richard Trumka, Secretary Treasurer of the AFL-CIO.

The call center workers are seeking improved workplace standards, like regular breaks, and they are increasingly worried about the outsourcing of call center jobs out of the country. The Utility Workers are hoping to duplicate their success in negotiating contracts containing a "no lay off policy" and a successor clause to assist workers with this concern.


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