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UMWA WINS 4-YEAR-OLD ELECTION; MINERS' BACK PAY COULD TOTAL $3.5 MILLION

 WASHINGTON, June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Tuesday opened challenged ballots from a 1989 election by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) at a Power Inc. strip mine in Clearfield County, Pa. After four years, the ballots proved that the union won the election by a vote of 40 to 30 -- and the election will finally be certified by the NLRB.
 The 13 challenged ballots were opened at 12:30 p.m. at the company office in Houtzdale, Pa., with union representatives and illegally discharged workers present. All 13 votes were cast for the union.
 "For four years, all we have wanted is that the ballots be opened," said John Acey, president of Local Union 1303, which miners have sustained as an honorary local until the final vote count was held.
 "Our ordeal demonstrates that this process must be reformed. Four years is far too long to wait," he said.
 The ballot opening follows a May 28 NLRB ruling which upheld the 1992 decision of an administrative law judge who ruled in favor of reinstating 13 miners illegally discharged by Power, Inc. That ruling certified the UMWA as the bargaining agent and awarded full back pay and benefits to the 13 workers retroactive to March 1989. The back pay award to those workers and 13 others whose cases are pending could total more than $3.5 million.
 According to the NLRB, the employer -- owned by Britain's Ryan International -- engaged in numerous unfair labor practices, including widespread subcontracting and illegally laying off the 13 workers shortly before a union representation election in March 1989. The company claimed the UMWA lost the election by a vote of 30-27, but the votes of the 13 discharged workers were not opened due to an employer challenge. The employer appealed the NLRB decision to the U.S. Circuit Court in the District of Columbia.
 In May 1992, Administrative Law Judge Irwin H. Socoloff ruled in favor of the discharged workers, but the company filed an NLRB appeal. The board backed Socoloff's decision on the company's unfair labor practices, which included illegal layoffs, numerous threats of plant closure and "severe and pervasive coercion" during a union-organizing campaign.
 "The UMWA will stand behind workers committed to union representation, however long it takes," said UMWA President Richard Trumka.
 "We are gratified that justice, although delayed, has finally prevailed."
 /delval/
 -0- 6/24/93
 /CONTACT: Bill Manion of the United Mine Workers of America, 412-222-9144/


CO: United Mine Workers of America; Power Inc. ST: District of Columbia, Pennsylvania IN: MNG SU:

DC-DS -- DC028 -- 5520 06/24/93 17:41 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 24, 1993
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