Today, workers often clamp pipes as a temporary fix for leaks, Lanham said. "For the most part, we are not told to put new pipes in."
Kim Bonnettee, a field service representative at West Virginia American Water who often visits customers, criticized how company employees are supervised during her testimony on Monday.
"They are relying on computer software to determine where we work. I am only doing two-thirds of the work I did before. Our workforce is not efficient, not productive."
Scott Strauss, a lawyer for the union, questioned Jeffrey L. McIntyre, president of West Virginia American Water, a subsidiary of American Water, about the details of the company's employment plans.
McIntyre testified West Virginia American Water has 279 employees.
The last time the company had 316 employees, Strauss said, was back in December 2009.
"A reduction of the head count," McIntyre said, "does not lead directly to lower service quality.... Our customer satisfaction levels remain up."
West Virginia American Water serves 581,000 customers in areas including the Kanawha Valley, as well as Boone, Cabell, Logan, Mercer and Fayette counties and in areas up to Weston and Webster Springs. It is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.