Entergy (NYSE: ETR) indicated Oct. 1 that it has effectively locked out members of a security guard union at the Grand Gulf nuclear plant in Mississippi after a labor contract expired Sept. 30 and the union would not commit to staying on the job.
Negotiations between Entergy and the leadership of United Government Security Officers of America Local 36, which represents Grand Gulf security officers, regarding a new union contract were unsuccessful, the company said in an Oct. 1 statement.
As a result, Entergy Nuclear has implemented a contingency staffing plan at Grand Gulf to ensure that the plant continues to have an adequate security force.
“Since those employees would have been working without a contract, they would reserve the right to leave their posts and strike at any time – a situation that is unacceptable at an Entergy Nuclear plant,” said Mike Balduzzi, Entergy Nuclear’s senior vice president of nuclear technical services.
An Entergy spokesperson said he could not comment on the labor situation aside what was in the Oct. 1 statement. He did acknowledge that the contract that just expired was for three years. The spokesperson did note that the labor action does not affect the entire Grand Gulf security force.
Qualified and experienced individuals both from Grand Gulf and from other plants within the Entergy nuclear fleet and professional security firms that provide services to the nuclear industry will be filling the necessary positions, Entergy said. The company also said its alternative staffing complies with Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) rules.
“Entergy Nuclear remains committed to plant safety, security, and to bargaining in good faith toward a fair and equitable contract for both employees and the company,” said Balduzzi.
Grand Gulf is a boiling water reactor unit located in Port Gibson, Miss. In late 2011, the plant applied for a 20-year license extension from the NRC. The plant’s current license is scheduled to expire in 2024.
The Grand Gulf website indicates the plant has a maximum dependable capacity of 1,071 MW. A recently-approved power upgrade should bring that figure to an estimated 1,443 MW.