The Paducah Sun
The Paducah Sun
Paducah, Kentucky
Wednesday, March 06, 2002

Plant union rejects 5-year USEC contract

Staff Report

Union security workers at the Paducah uranium enrichment plant rejected a five-year contract with USEC Inc. Tuesday night, but will not strike as labor and management head back to the bargaining table.

Mike Kaufman, vice president of the 34-member Local 111 of Security Police and Fire Professionals of America, would not release the tabulation, but said, “I would not call it a close vote.”

The old five-year contract expired at midnight Thursday.

The membership’s major concerns with the proposed contract were salaries and hiring unarmed security guards, Kaufman said.

“I do not want to go that far (in discussing guards’ wages,) but many of them feel like they could make more for working for the laundry,” Kaufman said. “Since 9/11, our emphasis at the plant has been on security, and now they say they want to hire unarmed guards.”

The union bargaining committee is expected to meet today and set a time to meet with plant officials, Kaufman said.

A tentative agreement was reached late Sunday afternoon after negotiations started Feb. 26, Kaufman said. The union bargaining committee recommended that members approve the contract.

“But we brought it to the rank and file, and they turned it down,” Kaufman said. All 34 members cast votes at the Teamsters union hall on Cairo Road, Kaufman said.