February 9, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Baltimore, MD – Workers at the Baltimore area’s largest utility company have voted to join the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The 741-610 vote last month at Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. came after four unsuccessful organizing campaigns in the last 20 years, the most recent in 2010.
The biggest change since then, worker Eric Gomez told In These Times, was that the company’s local owners had sold it to the Chicago-based Exelon energy conglomerate. “There is a lot of company loyalty, but we’re not ‘mom-and-pop’ BGE anymore, we’re Exelon,” he said. Another argument, said IBEW organizer Troy Johnson, was that Exelon’s other subsidiaries are heavily unionized, including those in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlantic City, N.J., and the Delmarva peninsula. While Exelon did not immediately try to cut benefits after the merger, said Local 24 member Cory McCray, it did increase the amount of work it contracted out. “That was a message that most everybody understood. Their jobs were at risk, and without a union there is very little protection,” he said. The IBEW’s national leadership also put “a lot of resources” into the campaign, McCray added, bringing in 80 members from other locals to help. Read more