The Paducah Sun
The Paducah Sun
Paducah, Kentucky
Thursday, April 03, 2003

Latest USEC talks conclude without contract, schedule
A USEC spokeswoman says the company made the last offer, which was rejected.

Staff Report

No new meetings were scheduled after negotiations between USEC Inc. and union leaders ended without a contract Wednesday night, and representatives from both sides had mixed opinions on the progress that was made since the talks moved to Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday.

USEC spokeswoman Elizabeth Stuckle said both parties "moved closer together in their positions, but a contract was not reached. We were the last ones to put a proposal (out). That proposal was rejected by the union."

PACE Local 5-550 President Leon Owens disagreed, saying the lack of progress is discouraging to the work force and to the community.

Talks to end the strike, which is in its 59th day, were moved to Nashville in an attempt to bring leaders from both sides together. Both Stuckle and Owens said the move accomplished that, but Owens said he is even more discouraged now because even with the leaders present, no progress was made.

Owens said plant managers need to be concerned about the direction that the corporation is headed.

He said USEC leaders have been pushing work-force responsibility, a proposal in which salaried workers would help more with union jobs.

"Work-force responsibility is the vehicle that will be used to eliminate (union) positions," he said.

Owens said he does not know where or when the next talks will take place. "We've maintained all along that we should be able to reach an agreement in the parking lot of the union hall," he said.