Strike Begins at Midnight for Nuke Plant Workers

The union representing workers at Nine Mile One and Two nuclear plant says there’s been no change in talks with Constellation Nuclear and a union strike of the facilities begins at a minute after midnight Saturday morning.

Business Manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Ted Skerpon said in a note posted on the union’s website that the union and company met Friday morning, after the union’s rejection of Constellation’s “last, best and final offer”.

Skerpon said the company told him there would be no change in its offer and would begin to implement the offer at midnight, when a one week extension of the last contract expires.

He said the union would go on strike at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

“For those of you who are working up until [the deadline], please ensure that your job is ready to end and/or turnover in a safe, professional manner and exit the facility at that time,” Skerpon wrote.

The union refused to accept what it said were deep cuts in the pension program, cuts that Skerpon alleged were payback for winning an earlier arbitration against the company over the same issue.

Constellation spokesperson Jill Lyon has said that the company has put in place a plan to use non-union managers to handle essential tasks in order to keep the two nuclear plants producing power.

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission reviewed Constellation’s plan and will send extra inspectors to the plant.  The inspectors will keep a 24 hour watch on plant operations, at least in the initial days of the strike.

It’s the first walkout in an American nuclear plant in 8 years and the first major strike in Oswego County in many years.  Approximately 450 workers will be  on strike.  Members of the union who work in security are barred by law from striking.