(05/30/2007)
The United Steelworkers and Chesapeake Energy Corp. have agreed to meet Friday after recent negotiations reportedly stalled.

Charleston Newspapers reported the Steelworkers said it started this past Friday's meeting "by trying to generate some real dialog" about pension, seniority, contractors and safety issues.

The union said it presented "a new full counter proposal and a package proposal for settlement of major issues" but "the company took only about 15 minutes and said they rejected the offer and stood on their last proposal."

Chesapeake has threatened to pull their operation from West Virginia after they lost a $4 million lawsuit, which accused them of taking advantage of royalty holders.

Still, the company has been full-steam ahead obtaining leases.

Scott Rotruck, a vice president at Chesapeake Energy, said, "We first gave them our final offer on May 4. That final offer is still on the table."

The Steelworkers' contract with Chesapeake Energy and three NiSource Inc. subsidiaries, including Columbia Gas Transmission Corp., expired last December 1.

Union members ratified a five-year contract February 27 with the NiSource subsidiaries.


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