Contract negotiations between owner Entergy Corp. and union workers at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, who were locked out when their contract expired nearly two weeks ago, are set to resume Monday at 5 p.m. with guidance from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, Entergy and union officials said.
Entergy, which owns and operates 11 plants nationwide and manages one plant in Nebraska, locked out about 240 unionized Pilgrim workers when their contract expired June 5 and brought in temporary replacements.
“The company is committed to continuing to negotiate in good faith and hopefully we can come to a resolution, and get our employees back to work,” Entergy spokeswoman Carol Wightman said in a phone interview. “We will still be implementing our alternate staffing contingency plan at the site, until such time as we have a contract in place.”
Union officials are happy to return to negotiations, said Dan Hurley, Utility Workers Union of America Local 369 president, on Sunday afternoon.
“We’re hoping to get a fair and reasonable contract and to give the producers of profit a fair and equitable agreement,” he said.
Union members rejected Entergy’s proposed contract June 10, Hurley said, because the health care plan would have raised out-of-pocket costs for workers. The workers have paid 25 percent of their health insurance costs since 2004. “They pay a tremendous amount of money weekly,” he said.
Wightman declined to discuss specifics. “We’re negotiating a whole new contract,” she said. “Negotiations are ongoing, and I’m not going to discuss the details.”
Plant officials postponed a scheduled emergency planning drill Wednesday to keep workers, some on loan from other plants and some temporary contractors, focused on day-to-day operations.
Last month the Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted to renew the 40-year-old plant’s license for another 20 years, ending a six-year review process, the longest ever for a US nuclear power plant. The license went into effect June 8.