11th-hour deal in Seabrook Station labor battleBy PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader
December 01. 2013 9:22PM
A deal has been reached between the company that runs Seabrook Station nuclear power plant and 226 union workers, a day before the deadline for a possible lockout.
Seabrook Station nuclear plant spokesman Al Griffith confirmed the agreement with workers represented by the Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO.
“A deal has been reached,” Griffith said Sunday night. “I can’t say much more than that, and can’t get into the details, at this time because the union has begun its ratification process, but yes a deal has been reached.”
On Sunday, Next Era Energy, the Seabrook plant’s owner, issued the following statement:
“We are pleased to have reached a fair agreement that balances the needs of our employees with the realities of today’s economic environment. For more than two decades, Seabrook Station and our outstanding employees have provided the region with the safe, clean, affordable power New Englanders have come to expect and depend upon. This agreement helps to ensure that Seabrook Station and its highly skilled workforce will continue to play an important role in clean energy generation and the region’s economy for years to come.”A five-year contract between the station and Local 555 expires today, according to union President Ted Jenis, who told the New Hampshire Union Leader last week that negotiations had been ongoing since Sept. 18.A federal mediator was brought in last week.
Local 555 represents 226 workers specializing in mechanical and electrical positions at the power plant, including instrumentation, calibration and control room operators. Overall 670 work at the plant, many of which are not unionized, including management, planners and schedulers.
Jenis told the Union Leader last week that negotiators for both sides were at odds over wages and a company proposal to eliminate a special classification for firefighter technician /EMT. Jenis said the company had offered 2 percent raises each year in the three-year contract, while the union was seeking 2.7 percent.
The main sticking point was a proposal to end premium pay for weekend work, and instead create rotating shifts that include weekend coverage at regular pay.