MORRISTOWN, N.J., Dec. 8, 2004 (PRNewswire-FirstCall) — Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) has implemented its work continuation plan in response to a strike, effective December 8, 2004, of employees represented by International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) System Council U-3. Non-represented JCP&L employees with previous experience in line positions or appropriate training will perform service reliability and priority maintenance work while the union is on strike.
“We are working hard to minimize any inconvenience to our customers during this time,” said JCP&L President Steve Morgan. “And, we are committed to doing this while ensuring the safety of our customers and employees.”
The strike follows negotiations with union leadership that began in August. Key issues have been wages, benefits and work rules, especially those related to adequate employee response to meet customers’ service needs. Negotiations were opened early, at the union’s request, and a stipulated agreement was reached with leadership on September 3, 2004. That agreement, which included a nine-percent wage increase over three years, was rejected by the membership. Contract negotiations continued until midnight. The contract, which originally was to expire on October 31, 2004, had been extended to December 7.
“With respect to the issues, we are not asking this group of employees to do anything different than other JCP&L and FirstEnergy employees already have done,” said Morgan. “Since 2000, company paid health care costs for employees represented by System Council U-3 have doubled to nearly $14 million annually, while these same employees have had no increase in their health care contributions since 1999.”
FirstEnergy Corp., JCP&L’s parent company, has 16 labor agreements with unions representing more than 6,000 employees.
JCP&L serves one million customers in 13 New Jersey counties.