Pantex union chief: vote was ‘overwhelming’

pantex2Clarence Rashada, president of the Metal Trades Council at Pantex, said the vote to reject Consolidated Nuclear Security’s contract proposal was “overwhelming.” He declined to release the vote numbers.

According to Rashada, union workers were particularly unhappy with proposed changes in medical benefits, sick leave and pensions, and how they’re administered.

“The people just didn’t like what was there (in the proposed contract),” he said. “There was too much takeaway.”

He said he was confident CNS will want to return to negotiations and try to come up with a “viable” contract. But he wasn’t necessarily optimistic about getting things done before the current agreement expires Aug. 28.

“We’re not close,” Rashada said, noting that negotiations have been underway for nearly nine months. “I never thought it would go that long,” he said.

Some union workers at the Pantex site have been vocal about a possible strike, and Rashada acknowledged Saturday’s vote reflected that sentiment.

“That’s a train that I’ve got to try to control,” he said, while trying to make every effort to get a contract acceptable to the Pantex workers.

There reportedly hasn’t been a strike by the Metal Trades Council union since the 1970s.

Rashada said the negotiations with Consolidated Nuclear Security have been difficult. In some ways, he said, the Pantex contract is probably being viewed as the prototype for what’s coming at Y-12, Savannah River and other Department of Energy sites.

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.