No contract yet for Pilgrim nuclear plant; NSTAR gets pact

The current labor agreement between Entergy (NYSE: ETR) and the Utility Workers Union of America Local 369 was scheduled to expire at midnight on Tuesday, June 5, at the Pilgrim nuclear plant in Massachusetts, an Entergy spokesperson said June 5.

Negotiations continued June 5 after the affected union members failed to ratify a proposed contract on June 2, a company representative told GenerationHub.

“All I can say at this point is that negotiations are ongoing today and yes, all workers are on the job at Pilgrim today,” an Entergy spokesperson said June 5.

The union membership voted down the proposal 174-34, saying the company was seeking too many concessions, according to a notice posted on the UWUA Local 369 website.

“Our members have clearly spoken and they reject Entergy’s continued demands for major concessions on health care, salary and staffing,” Dan Hurley, the president of the local, said in a statement. “It’s despicable that after receiving a license renewal that enables the company to make $1 million a day for the next 20 years from Pilgrim, executives continue to insist upon shortchanging the hardworking men and women who run this plant and make it extremely profitable for management.”

On May 25, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (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 said upon approval of the license extension.

A federal mediator was called in recently to help Entergy and the union resolve their differences. Speaking of federal mediators, UWUA Local 369 credited a federal mediator for assisting the union in reaching a new contract agreement with NSTAR, a Massachusetts-based electricity and gas provider. That proposed contract is expected to be voted upon by union members on June 11.

NSTAR announced the new three-year labor agreement in a June 2 news release.  NSTAR merged with Northeast Utilities (NYSE: NU) in April.          

UWUA Local 369 represents over 3,300 members working in the utility industry at 12 different companies around Massachusetts and New England, according to its website.

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.