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Union Support for First Energy Workers

Hundreds of people came out to support First Energy union members.
ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY - Hundreds of people came out to support First Energy union members.

The lockout began on November 25th. First Energy's contract with their union members expired. And the union did not agree to a new contract. So the company locked out workers and brought in replacements from the surrounding area.

Around four hundred people came out to support workers in their tenth week of the lockout. Union Spokesperson Ben Wilkinson thanked the unions representing teachers, carpenters, fire fighters and many others for joining them on the line. Many people in the crowd are surprised the lockout has lasted this long.

First Energy spokesperson Scott Surgeoner, says they've made their last offer and nothing is changing on their end. That offer included an eight percent raise spread out over three years.

But the workers are more concerned with retiree health benefits, benefits they say were already paid for.
Surgeoner says the company isn't budging on that issue, and that they told employees in 2009 this was going to happen.

Wilkinson says they're not going anywhere and support like they saw Saturday helps keep them going.
No more negotiation sessions are scheduled at this time.
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