As the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 210 strike continued into its third week, U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew said Atlantic City Electric’s parent company, Exelon, is mistreating workers and engaging in “woke corporate nonsense.”
“When I hear Atlantic City Electric will no longer recognize Veterans Day as a holiday; when I hear families’ health benefits are being canceled right before Christmas; when I hear in South Jersey any company, let alone a publicly regulated utility, has the audacity to scold its employees and tell them it’s offensive for wanting to start their meetings by pledging allegiance to our great American flag, it’s clear that this strike is much bigger than the traditional dispute between business and labor,” Van Drew said Monday.
Workers with IBEW Local 210 have been on strike since Nov. 5 after its leaders and Atlantic City Electric failed to agree to a new contract.
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No Exelon or Atlantic City Electric spokespeople could be reached for immediate comment Monday.
Atlantic City Electric raised its rates earlier this year and is about to do so again next week, with yet another increase planned in early 2024, Van Drew said.
“Enough is enough. These men and women, as well as their families, deserve the stability of a fair contract especially at a time when we’re making record investments in our nation’s infrastructure,” Van Drew said. “We need the best and brightest focused on strengthening our electric grid and eliminating any vulnerabilities America’s enemies could try to exploit rather than on the latest woke corporate nonsense.”
Van Drew said the cultural aspects of Exelon’s actions will not be tolerated in South Jersey.
“This crap may fly in Chicago, Philadelphia or Washington, but it sure as hell isn’t going to fly here, which begs the question as to whether this cultural shift would be happening if Atlantic City Electric was still locally owned and operated,” Van Drew said in a statement.
Electrical workers with Atlantic City Electric will remain on strike after contract negotiations Tuesday did not produce a deal between the company and a local union.
Striking workers have been holding picket signs 24/7 outside the company’s properties in Mays Landing on Harding Highway and Pleasantville on Fire Road, Local 210 Business Administrator Zach Story has said.
Story also could not immediately be reached Monday for comment.
IBEW Local 210 represents about 400 workers in a range of positions in the company.
Atlantic City Electric, a subdivision of Chicago energy company Exelon, said it and the union entered contract talks several months ago. It also said it has a plan in place to avoid service disruptions while the strike is ongoing.
The company has been using contractors to fill the jobs of its striking employees.
The company has said it presented a five-year deal worth incremental increases of 16% to 20% over that time. Story said the company only offered a maximum of 16%.
The union has said it was seeking an array of requests, from stronger health benefits and pensions for retirement to better protections involving subcontracting work.
Staff Writer Eric Conklin contributed to this report.
REPORTER: Michelle Brunetti Post