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Nearly 1,000 Gas Workers Union Members Affected By Dominion Lockout

DELMONT (KDKA) - More than 900 Dominion employees across six states, including Pennsylvania, are off the job today, following a lockout.

The workers, many of whom work in natural gas, learned about the lockout when they showed up for work last night.

The lockout affects nearly 300 workers all across Pennsylvania, including about 50 who work in Delmont. The workers say they're ready to get back to work.

Rather than head inside the Oakford Compressor station on Route 22 in Delmont, dozens of workers are outside - unable to work, because their employer won't let them in.

"We showed up for work this morning, the gates were locked, no trespassing signs," said Rob Tumulty, a member in the United Gas Workers Union, Local 69. "We were told we were done. Negotiations have stalled."

The local union has been without a contract since April 1. Negotiations between Dominion and the union have not been successful. The union members rejected an offer last week. The issue involves retirement insurance and pensions for new members.

"It's the elimination of pensions for new employees and the elimination of retirement benefits for new employees," said Tumulty.

The company sent a statement to KDKA explaining why they implemented the lockout. It reads in part:

The companies took the action after Local 69 of the Utility Workers Union of America, United Gas Workers refused to take a tentative contract agreement to union members for a vote. Local 69 previously had agreed to take the contract to a vote and support approval as part of a memorandum of agreement signed last month.

Added Tumulty, "The second offer that was told to be brought out to the union wasn't any different than the first, which we voted down strongly, and so the second offer didn't really change. The company hasn't been willing to negotiate and the union wants to work. We didn't want to get locked out, we want to come to work."

A bargaining session between Dominon and the union was scheduled for Thursday. It's not known how the lockout will affect the talks.

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