Entergy moves to run Pilgrim without union while seeking contract

Entergy (NYSE: ETR) said June 6 that it is implementing its contingency plan to run the Pilgrim nuclear plant in Massachusetts without members of Utility Workers Union of America Local 369 although it is continuing to seek a new contract with the union.

“Local 369 has stated flatly that while its members are not on strike, they reserve the right to walk off the job at any time, without any notice, and leave the nuclear power plant critically understaffed and in violation of the plant’s operating license,” Entergy said in a statement issued through a spokesperson. “This disregard for public safety is unacceptable. Accordingly, the company’s contingency plan is being implemented.”

The contingency plan for temporary alternate staffing is consistent with Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulations, Entergy said. Qualified individuals from within Pilgrim’s management team as well as the Entergy nuclear fleet will be filling the necessary positions, the company said.

Local 369 has said that Entergy is seeking deep concessions at the Massachusetts plant. The union has thus far voted down at least one formal contract proposal.

Entergy also released a second statement later June 6 saying that its offers to the affected union workers have been generous. The company said its contract offers have been “fair and reasonable.”  Entergy said it has proposed further wage increases “atop an average income that is already more than $122,000.” The company said it has also offered competitive medical and retirement benefits.

The union local had not posted any new statements on its website as of late afternoon on June 6.

On May 25, NRC announced it would renew Pilgrim’s operating license for an additional 20 years. The current license was scheduled to expire June 8. The plant can now operate until 2032.

The 688-MW plant generates enough electricity to meet nearly 10% of the electrical demand in Massachusetts, Entergy has said.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.