Labor Leaders Consider Unfair Labor Complaint Against Westinghouse

Boilermakers Local 651 protest being locked out of Westinghouse Electric in Newington, N.H. (Courtesy photograph.)

About 175 employees, including several in Greater Haverhill, of Westinghouse Electric in Newington, N.H., are considering filing an unfair labor practice against the nuclear components manufacturer after being locked out Sunday in a contract dispute.

The workers were unable to reach a new contract after the last contract expired at the end of April. Westinghouse said it issued a lockout notice to 172 employees as a result of “a stalemate in negotiations” between the company and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers. The union said its members have not only lost income, but also health insurance.

“Clearly, Westinghouse has not bargained in good faith and we will be exploring all available recourses against the company, including filing unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board,” said spokesman Tyler Brown.

Before Sunday, workers were working under a 30-day contract extension. New Hampshire AFL-CIO President, Glenn Brackett said, “Westinghouse is making a mistake. This lockout will subject hard-working New Hampshire families to financial hardship and economic uncertainty. These workers have been loyal employees and deserve to be treated with dignity and in good faith,” he added.

For its part, Westinghouse said it continued discussions in good faith beyond the contract expiration.

“Westinghouse put forth its best and final offer given the current very serious business conditions,” said Michele DeWitt, interim senior vice president. “As the Boilermakers were not willing to accept the offer, the company made the difficult decision to invoke a lockout,” she added.

Boilermakers Local 651 is establishing a “Solidarity Fund” to help its members. For more information, call Duane Egan at 978-476-6472 or e-mail him at [email protected].