Union workers have put away their signs and their giant blow-up rat and gone back to work today after more than a month of picketing outside the gates of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.
Sunday, members of UWUA 369 cast their votes on the latest contract offer from Entergy that was brokered by a federal mediator. This time, there was a 70-vote swing in favor of the contract: 141 for and 67 against. Two weeks ago members voted against a very similar contract, 89 for and 137 against.
While specific details of the agreement are not being disclosed, the new four-year contract represents a substantial commitment to employees in the form of guaranteed wage increases, according to Entergy spokesman Carol Wightman. Benfits under the new contract include premium health care plan options, a company-matching 401(k) savings program, a defined benefits pension plan and a union incentive plan.
"We now turn our attention to the transition/turnover process and have initiated our Reintegration Plan which is a deliberate process to ensure the qualifications, training and other site requirements of returning employees are current and meet all NRC or procedural requirements. As employees are reintegrated, we will be phasing out our alternate staffing/contingency plan and expect to have all of our union employees back to work this week," Pilgrim Site Vice President Robert Smith said.
Monday, the politicos began sending their congratulations to both sides for settling the lockout.
Senate President Therese Murray said she is "pleased that both parties were able to reach an agreement on a fair contract and the workers will finally be able to return to the plant. The safety of our community must be our top priority, and we will all feel more secure when the most experienced workers are put back in charge of maintaining the plant’s operations."