Negotiations between the owner and operator of Indian Point Energy Center and a union representing more than 300 of its workers continued today as both sides aim to avoid a strike.
Jerry Nappi, a spokesman for plant owner Entergy Corp., said that talks between the company and Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2 were ongoing as of late Friday morning.
That followed a statement released earlier in the morning by union President James T. Slevin that said representatives from Entergy had called for a break in “marathon negotiations” this morning for rest. Slevin added that he expected negotiations to start up again today.
The Buchanan nuclear plant’s Local 1-2 employees – which include operations, radiation protection, chemistry and maintenance workers – voted to authorize a strike last week ahead of a Jan. 17 expiration of the current contract. That first deadline for a new deal passed at the end of the day Wednesday, but negotiations were extended.
Local 1-2 members are seeking a new collective bargaining agreement through 2022, which would run one year past when Indian Point is scheduled to close. Union representatives have stressed that the plant’s current workers should be involved in the decommissioning process after Indian Point stops operations.
Union spokesman John Melia told the Business Journal on Tuesday that the union is concerned with Entergy’s history of using outside companies for decommissioning and what that could mean for the role of the local union workers.
“Our feeling is we’re the best to do it, we’ve been with the plant since it opened,” Melia said.
Slevin said on Thursday in a separate statement that the “the clock is still ticking while the union is working to forge an agreement to avert a labor dispute.”
He added, “If there is a job action, it will be only because Entergy does not appear to
be making any effort at the bargaining table to come to a reasonable agreement
with its workers.”
Entergy representatives said the company will bargain in good faith, but the company does have a contingency plan to continue operation of the plant following any labor action. Federal regulators at the Nuclear Regulatory Committee are also monitoring the situation, according to an NRC spokesperson.