BOSTON AND PLYMOUTH, MA –
Today a statewide coalition of public health, nuclear safety, social justice, and environmental groups joined members of the Utility Workers of America Union Local 369 in a rally at the State House requesting Governor Deval Patrick requesting to ask the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to close the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station because the plant’s owner has locked out its regular workforce from the Union. A letter making a similar request was delivered to the Governor on Friday, June 22, http://www.capecodbaywatch.org/2012/06/supplement-to-2-206-enforcement-petition-regarding-labor-dispute-at-pilgrim/.
“It is unreasonable in this current economic climate for a company like Entergy to continue to demand give backs in the wake of record profits. The CEO is not being asked for a cut in benefits, why should these workers? Instead he is risking the well being of the entire community by having replacement workers do the job of the experienced people that earned him those profits,” said Jennifer Doe, Organizer, Massachusetts Jobs with Justice.
Entergy Nuclear Generating Corporation of Louisiana, owner of Pilgrim nuclear, locked out the union work force on June 5, and has been using replacement workers. The groups say the replacement workers lack the necessary training and expertise to run Pilgrim safely.
When the labor dispute began in mid-May, local groups Pilgrim Watch and Jones River Watershed Association filed a legal petition asking the NRC to close Pilgrim until the regular workforce is back on the job. Pilgrim Watch has filed five supplemental requests based on new facts and events they say show Entergy is violating its NRC operating license. The groups say Entergy is not providing reasonable protection for the public’s health and safety. This includes cancelling an emergency response and safety drill on June 13 because the replacement workers are not trained in security or general emergency response procedures, and on June 20, failing to complete an emergency response drill.
On June 20, 2012, Local 369 voted by a two-thirds margin to reject Entergy’s latest contract offer, and the groups say Entergy’s failure to reach an agreement with the union jeopardizes the safety of the region.
The groups asking the Governor to take action are Pilgrim Watch, Jones River Watershed Association, Massachusetts Jobs With Justice, Clean Water Action, Cape Codders for Peace and Justice, Pilgrim: Make Us Safe Today, Cape Downwinders, and Toxics Action Center Campaigns, Suffolk University Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights, Union of Minority Neighborhoods, New England Jewish Labor Committee, LaCommunidad of Everett, and Environmental Massachusetts.