The Atomic Trades and Labor Council collective bargaining agreement at Y-12 is due to expire June 22, but negotiations on a new contract are not yet under way.
“We’ll send them a letter 60 days out, requesting to bargain,” ATLC President Steve Jones said this week. “They’re still working on the Pantex one right now.”
Jones was making reference to Consolidated Nuclear Security, the Bechtel-led contractor team that took over combined management of the Y-12 and Pantex nuclear weapons plants on July 1, 2014. (The Y-12 union contract was extended last year by 12 months by former contractor B&W Y-12 in order to give the new contractor more time for transition before negotiating a new pact.)
CNS recently began negotiations with the Metal Trades Department at Pantex on a new contract for 1,100 hourly workers there. The existing Pantex agreement is due to expire on Feb. 16.
Jones said the Oak Ridge union leaders are interested in what takes place with their union counterparts at Y-12’s sister plant in Texas.
“We’ll be following it closely,” he said.
While the ATLC will keep tabs on the Pantex negotiations, Jones noted that the two contracts are significantly different and so what happens at one site won’t necessarily happen at the other.
There was much angst in Oak Ridge about the changes in benefits for the non-bargaining unit employees at Y-12. CNS maintained that it had to make changes in order to comply with a Department of Energy order that restricts how much can be spent on benefits.
The benefits of Y-12’s hourly workers are protected by the existing agreement, and changes will be subject to negotiations.
Asked if being out of compliance with DOE 350.1 requires the union negotiators to make changes, Jones said that’s not necessarily the case.
“Of course, we have to take it into consideration, but we’ll look for a way to minimize the impact — anything to minimize the impact to the current workforce,” the ATLC leader said.
“I’m just kind of waiting to see what they (CNS) come up with,” he said.
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