Lehigh Portland Cement Co. employees have received back pay they were owed by the company as part of a settlement of an unfair labor practices charge.

The average amount received by each employee was $3,902, the National Labor Relations Board in Washington reported. The maximum was $5,284.99; 651 employees received the maximum, the NLRB said.

Employees at nine of Lehigh's plants are sharing a $5 million settlement negotiated by the NLRB after the board ruled in 1987 that Lehigh violated labor law in 1984 by putting contract proposals into effect without first bargaining to an impasse with the union. Lehigh workers went on strike in 1984.

Checks were sent to 1,310 former and current employees in 33 states on May 24, the NLRB said.

Employeesalso received a portion of the $400,000 in interest earned since Lehigh paid the $5 million in March 1990, the NLRB said.

James E. Harris, union representative at the plant here, said he's not sure how many Union Bridge employees received checks. The plant employs about 160 hourly workers.

In the checks employees received, income and Social Security taxes had been deducted from the money that came from the principal settlement, but not the interest, Harris said.

In a related matter, employees at Union Bridge will vote June 20 on whetherthey want the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, the United Paperworkers International Union or no union to represent them.

Lehigh employees have belonged to the Boilermakers since 1984, but havebeen dissatisfied with the representation. Workers were able to get NLRB permission to vote on a new union only after the unfair labor practice charge was settled.

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