Representatives of Penelec and Utility Workers Union of America Local 180 returned to the bargaining table Wednesday but failed to reach an agreement.
The session with the federal mediator in Pittsburgh was the fifth since FirstEnergy, Penelec's parent company, locked out about 140 line, substation, clerk and meter services employees in the Altoona, Lewistown and Shippens
burg areas on Nov. 25 after the union rejected the
company's final contract offer.
Progress might have been made during the meeting.
"It is hard to say if there was progress made. There was an exchange of ideas and proposals and some discussion. That is encouraging. We are hopeful for a lot more discussion," said spokesman Scott Surgeoner of FirstEnergy Corp. "We want to reach an agreement with the union. We want the employees to come back to work. We want the union to vote on the last, best
final offer and get back to work."
Utility Workers Union President Bob Whalen said he believed some progress was made.
"They listened to what we had to say for a change. As long as they talk to us and not dictate to us, anything is possible," Whalen said.
Surgeoner said the company is hopeful to get the parties together again next week if the federal mediator is available.
"We will go out of our way to attend," Whalen said.
FirstEnergy has been using management staff, employees from other FirstEnergy companies and contractors to provide service to customers.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.