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Pepco employees approve deal, avert strike

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder

The union representing more than 1,000 Pepco employees says its members have ratified a four-year deal with the utility company, averting a strike.

In a statement posted to its website, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1900 did not disclose the vote tally, but the union said turnout was strong.

Pepco employees had been on the verge of a strike since late September when, by a 5-to-1 vote, they rejected what the utility giant described as its "last, best and final offer." The union's negotiating committee, though, described the offer as "the worst proposal this [affiliate] has faced in its entire history."

After the union beat back the proposal, workers could have taken to the picket line with as little as 48 hours notice, though negotiations continued with the assistance of a federal mediator.

The union and Pepco reached a tentative deal earlier this month that was pending until employees could vote on the agreement, which the local's leadership unanimously recommended.

The new accord included pay increases and no changes to retirement plans. The union also said it secured more favorable contract language on health care benefits.

A spokeswoman for Pepco, which serves about 788,000 customers in the District and Maryland, did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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