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Industry News

Union Says Atmosphere 'Hostile' at Beaver Valley Nuke

LCG, Oct. 2, 2001--The union representing 450 employees who operate and maintain the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power plant in Shippingport, Pa., is at odds with First Energy Corp. over the proposals for more flexible work arrangements, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported this morning.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers contract with First Energy expired Sunday, but workers reported this morning without a contract. Negotiations are schedule for tomorrow.

Jeff Davis, business agent for Local 29, said the union offered the company a day-to-day contract extension with 72-hour notice of strike or lockout, but that the offer was declined. He said the company promised to maintain previous rates of pay but reserved the right to make some work-rule changes.

Beaver Valley, along with the rest of the commercial nuclear power plants in the U.S., has been under tightened security since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, a condition Davis says worsens the atmosphere at the plant.

"It's a real hostile and tense working environment in the nuclear plant right now," Davis said, adding that the union was trying to set a date for a strike authorization vote this week. "There's a very, very high level of tension."

First Energy spokesman Todd Schneider said that aside from the extra security there were no changes in conditions that would affect the workplace. He said the company, which assumed the just-expired contract when it acquired the plant from Duquesne Light Co. in 1999, wanted to bring the Shippingport contract in line with those at other First Energy plants.

The union says the dispute with the utility is over contract proposals affecting work rules, vacations and scheduling.

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