Yankee Will Retain Union Workers, Release Documents

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(Host) The company that wants to buy the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant has agreed not to lay off any unionized workers over the next several years. The union and the Entergy Corporation filed the agreement with the state Pubic Service Board Wednesday. Utilities involved in the sale also agreed to release some of the previously confidential documents in the case.

VPR’s John Dillon reports.

(Dillon) The Entergy Corporation and Local 300 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have signed a deal that guarantees jobs at the Vernon reactor.

Entergy wants to buy the 30-year-old power plant. Under the deal with the union, the company will honor the existing contract until it expires in 2004. George Clain is the local president:

(Clain) "It actually exceeds the collective bargaining agreement and affirms employment for all the union employees now working at the plant."

(Dillon) Clain says the plant employs about 135 members of his union. The agreement says the union supports the sale to Entergy and strongly opposes the early shutdown of Vermont Yankee:

(Clain) "IBEW was founded because of safety issues, safety concerns dealing with line workers. If there were anything wrong with that plant, we’d know about it. We train our members to let us know. So we believe it’s a safe plant to operate."

(Dillon) This week, the Public Service Board holds the last round of hearings on the Yankee sale. Some of the hearings have been held behind closed doors because the companies involved have claimed the testimony covered confidential information. But Entergy and Vermont Yankee have now agreed to release some of that secret testimony in response to a request by Vermont Public Radio. The documents should be available in a few days. Meanwhile, PSB chairman Michael Dworkin reminded the companies that they should make public as much information as possible.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.

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