The dispute is over who should guard classified material that is part of Bechtel Jacobs' cleanup work.
By Bill Bartleman firstname.lastname@example.org
The dispute is over who should guard classified material that is part of Bechtel Jacobs' cleanup work, said John Driskill, president of the 33-member Security Police and Fire Professionals of America Local 111.
Driskill claims members of the union have historically provided the security, even though there is no written contract with Bechtel Jacobs. The union's contract is with USEC Inc., the company that runs the production facilities.
He said Bechtel Jacobs recently used employees who are members of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers union to guard a materials storage area that is being cleaned up. Citing security reasons, he said he could not identify the site, the material or the reason it was being guarded.
Bechtel Jacobs spokesman Greg Cook said the work in question is being carried out by employees as part of the routine involved in cleanup, and is not a job for the guards. "Every time we take classified material out of a security container, we have to attend to it (have someone with it at all times)," Cook said. "It is routine, normal work that we do all of the time."
He said the Bechtel Jacobs workers met the federal regulations, which are to have the proper security clearance and have a reason to be in the area where the material is located.
Cook said the material in question is inside the security fence that is guarded by members of Driskill's union. "They guard the perimeter of the plant, and they control access to the secure areas," Cook said. "Our folks are just attending to the classified material which is part of their normal duty."
Informational picket lines had been scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Thursday at two locations: Hobbs Road and Woodville Road, near one of the plant entrances, and at Bechtel Jacobs headquarters in Kevil.
Cook and Driskill said the action was called off after the company agreed to meet next Thursday. "We agreed to talk with the guards' union about other ways we might utilize the guard force," Cook said.