Nine Mile workers reject contract at nuclear plant

Nine Mile Point / file photo

Union workers at Nine Mile Point nuclear plant in Scriba have rejected the final contract offer from Constellation Energy Nuclear Group.

The existing contract expires Friday night, setting up the possibility for a strike.

Constellation spokesperson Jill Lyon says the company bargained in good faith with a goal of achieving a contract that properly balances the needs of employees and the company. Lyon says the company believes it put a fair offer on the table. That final offer was presented to the union on June 30th. Voting lasted for five hours this morning.

IBEW Local 97 representative Ted Skerpon says since the contract offer Constellation's "last, best, and final offer, it's up to them to come back to the table and see what we can do." Skerpon says the union is planning its next steps now.

Last week, union members voted yes to the possibility of a strike. That means if nothing changes, that vote would stand and a strike could happen at midnight on Friday night. However, if there is a new contract offer, or an extension of the current bargaining agreement, Skerpon says he would take that to his union members.

Constellation is prepared for the possibility of a strike. "We don't want a work stoppage," Lyon says, "but we're prepared for that possibility because our top priority is to run these plants safely." A contingency plan was developed as part of standard preparations during the negotiations.

The contingency plan for the plant involves putting management and non-union employees into the positions that would be empty because of a strike. Lyon says those workers have received all the necessary training to do those jobs safely, and have been shadowing the positions over the past week.

Skerpon says the main reason for rejecting the contract was pension reductions on future growth.

A meeting is scheduled for Friday morning between Constellation and the union.