(Altoona) -- FirstEnergy Corp. has locked out more than 140 workers at Penelec shops after the union rejected what the utility is calling its ``last, best and final'' contract offer.
The Altoona Mirror reports the lockout was to start at 7 a.m. today.
FirstEnergy spokesman Scott Surgeoner says the lockout affects 142 linemen, meter readers, substation electricians and clerks in Altoona, Bedford, Ebensburg, Huntingdon, Lewistown and Shippensburg.
Bob Whalen, president of Utility Workers Union of American Local 180, says the contract rejection send was ``overwhelming'' and sends a ``clear message'' to the company's attempt to ``take away benefits'' _ especially retiree health care after 2014.
Surgeoner says the company wants to settle on new contract, and is seeking the same changes that apply to 15,000 other FirstEnergy workers.
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