Greensburg, PA – State Senator Kim Ward announced today that First Energy Corp. has made a five year commitment to maintaining jobs in Westmoreland County as a result of their proposed merger with Greensburg-based Allegheny Energy. Through negotiations with First Energy, the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate (PA O.C.A.) and Senator Ward, settlement language was agreed to that will ensure that the Greensburg, PA headquarters will remain a West Penn Power headquarters after the merger, and establish a minimum requirement of jobs in Westmoreland County over the next five years.
Current jobs housed in and around the Allegheny Energy Greensburg Headquarters are at 845, according to Allegheny Energy officials. Under the settlement, First Energy has agreed to maintain a minimum of 71% of the current jobs for the five year period. It breaks down to 800 jobs for a period of 12 months after the merger is approved by the P.U.C. In year two, they must maintain a minimum of 675 jobs. Year three would be 650 jobs, and years four and five are 600 jobs. These jobs are specified to remain in Westmoreland County under the agreement and are separate from the utility line workers whose union was able to negotiate a separate arrangement with First Energy.
“Since the announcement of this merger, my main focus was on the effect it would have on the jobs and rates in this area. I conveyed that message to First Energy throughout the summer, and we were finally able to work out an agreement that will stabilize a large portion of these jobs for the next five years. I am saddened that we have to see any reduction in these jobs, but economic factors involved in these types of mergers generally make it unavoidable, which is why the five year commitment is critical,” stated Ward.
“Working with First Energy, I am pleased that they agreed to job retraining support for any employee that is displaced in the next five years. First Energy showed that it is committed to being a community leader by recognizing the presence that Allegheny Energy had in Westmoreland County, and respecting the economic role that they played over the last decade,” she added.
“This is a long-term win for Westmoreland County, but it does come at a price, and I hope to work even harder to ensure that those jobs lost can be found elsewhere in the community,” Ward continued. We have a five year guarantee, but I feel confident that First Energy will be a strong economic presence well beyond that five years based on their business plan and conversations with me,” she finished.
Contact: Tom Aikens