Union workers at Nine Mile One and Two decide today whether to allow their leaders to call a strike against the company that owns the nuclear plants in the town of Scriba, as a mediator arrives to try to avoid a walkout.
The vote is being held because negotiations on a new contract have broken down, according to the Business Manager for Local 97 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Ted Skerpon.
“Negotiations have come to a stalemate,” Skerpon said in a note posted on Local 97’s website. “We still have a major disagreement with a key component.”
A federal mediator has been called to the negotiations and will hold his first session with the two sides starting at 8:00 a.m. today.
Skerpon said that the company appears to be trying to punish the union for having won an arbitrated settlement in its last contract by insisting on givebacks on worker pensions that the union feels is too harsh.
Jill Lyon, who speaks for Constellation Nuclear, the company that owns Nine Mile One and Two, said she could not comment on issues in the contract negotiations.
Union workers will vote on the strike authorization today at 4:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at the Oswego Elks Lodge.
Skerpon said that if talks with the mediator are making progress, it’s unlikely that the union will ask workers to go out on strike.
Lyon said that in the event of a strike, the company has a plan in place to ensure the safe operation of the nuclear plants. She said non-union managers would take over the duties of union workers.
She said that managers have been working for a year to be ready for the possibility of a strike and have spent the last few days job-shadowing union workers.
A spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the agency has reviewed Constellation’s plan and will send extra inspectors to the plant if there’s a strike to make sure the replacement workers are operating the plant safely.