Nuclear Chief Stewards Meeting
The Nuclear Chief Stewards met at Local 15 in late January. Several issues, including Travel, Emergency Response Organization, Maintenance Lead Worker, FLEX Arbitration, Electronic Work Package Settlement, and Round Trip Mileage Reimbursement, were discussed.
Pictured from left to right are Business Representative Tom Hinspeter Brian Daniels, Paul Krumpoch, Dennis Specha, Russ Ruettiger, Tony Taylor, John Richards, Scott Ragan, Dalbert Wiebenga, Stan Bush, Brian Burant, Mike Ruder and Business Representative Ben Busser.
President Dean Apple, Vice President Terry McGoldrick, and Assistant Business Manager Bill Phillips also met with the group.
IBEW Nuclear Conference Looks Ahead at Changing Industry
The Annual Nuclear Conference was held in Atlanta, Georgia December 3rd thru 7th with Business Representatives Tom Hinspeter and Ben Busser; Chief Stewards Mike Ruder, Dalbert Wiebenga, Dennis Specha, Paul Krumpoch, Brian Daniels, John Richards, and Steward David Mullins attending from Local 15.
IBEW Int’l Utility Dept Representative Mark MacNichol kicked off the conference with updates on atrisk plants, plant closures, NRC Access Authorization rule making, Delivering the Nuclear promise, and the Code of Excellence.
Donnie Colston, International Utility Dept Director, stressed baseload generation’s importance to national security and grid reliability; and Energy Department Secretary Rick Perry’s requested study of baseload generation. FERC is studying baseload generation, grid resiliency and trying to reward baseload generators for grid reliability. He stated that natural gas has the biggest impact to baseload generation followed by highly subsidized renewables.
Robert Kurnick, Attorney at Law, Sherman Dunn P.C., discussed the First Energy bankruptcy and the challenges that their plants have in Ohio and Pennsylvania which currently do not have any legislation to keep these plants going. He talked to the planned closures of three First Energy nuclear plants, Davis Besse east of Toledo and Perry outside of Cleveland – and the Beaver Valley Nuclear complex west of Pittsburgh by 2021, which were announced in late March.
Shannon Walters, Business Manager of IBEW Local Union 647, addressed the IBEW Code of Excellence’s impact on Entergy’s Arkansas Nuclear One Station. Arkansas Nuclear One had become a negative work environment with a large divide between management and union. Several safety issues at the site went unaddressed.
In 2013, tragedy struck when a crane collapse killed a twenty-four year old worker and injured eight others. Ensuing inspections pushed the site into the NRC’s worst rating, Column 4.
Management asked Shannon for help. Shannon implemented the IBEW Code of Excellence and trained all union employees at the site. Relations between IBEW 647 and management have changed greatly for the better. The turnaround raised to station’s rating to Column 1.
Other speakers included NRC Commissioner Baran on Access Authorization; Nuclear Energy Institute Vice President Joe Pollock on nuclear energy’s past and future and “Delivering the Nuclear Promise”; and Canadian Nuclear Workers Council President Dave Shier, on the issues regarding potential nuclear plant closings in Canada.
NRC Access Arbitration Dispute May Be Settled
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which establishes regulations to govern the safe generation of nuclear power, may finally decide a long festering issue between license holders of nuclear generation plants and the unions which represent the nuclear plant workers.
On November 1st, President Dean Apple, Assistant Business Manager Bill Phillips and Local 15’s Attorney Marilyn Teitelbaum traveled to Washington, DC to attend a public meeting at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Headquarters where President Apple testified.
The issue dates to 2015, when the NRC staff decided to change the regulations; third party arbitrators would no longer be allowed to potentially overturn a license holder’s decision to revoke a represented employee’s plant access. In some cases, an employer sought to nullify an arbitrator’s decision to reinstate a wrongfully terminated employee by denying access.
As the dispute lingered over the past several years, the IBEW, and specifically Local 15, had numerous meetings and shared documents with NRC staff. Specific information that covered thirty-two years of history showed that the process isn’t broken, and the regulations don’t need to be changed. After reviewing the facts, NRC staff agreed that there was not one example of any fatal flaws in thirty-two years that warranted starting the rulemaking process to change the current regulations.
The NRC staff plans to recommend to the NRC Commissioners that the current regulations don’t need to be changed. It is anticipated that the NRC Commissioners will accept this recommendation sometime in early 2019.
Dresden Sr. ‘A’ Agreement
Ass’t Business Manager Bill Phillips rolled out the Senior-A Agreement to all three shifts at Dresden Station on August 23rd . The Agreement establishes consistent Senior Mechanics and Senior Electrical Mechanics (“Senior A”) staffing levels at Dresden Station and defines a common list of duties and responsibilities that workers in those classifications will perform. A list of added Senior A duties, which are shared responsibilities, will relieve administrative burden for management.
Fifty-four total promotions to Senior A Mechanic, thirty-six in Mechanical Maintenance Dept. (MMD) and eighteen in Electrical Maintenance Dept (EMD) are part of the agreement. The new agreement also supersedes and ends the 1978 Mobile Maintenance Services Group Agreement. Vice President Terry McGoldrick, Business Representatives Tom Hinspeter and Ben Busser also attended the presentations. Members voted after each shift presentation. The vote count taken after the third shift was to overwhelmingly accept the agreement with 60-yes votes, 26-no votes, and 1 void ballot.
Nuke Clerk Stewards Meeting
On Friday May 23rd, the Nuclear Clerical Stewards met at Local 15 headquarters to discuss the challenges facing our members in the electrical generation industry. The conversations centered on several topics concerning not only the Clerical members working at the five nuclear stations but also at Cantera and Services Training Center.
Business Representatives Terry Cagney and Tom Hinspeter reviewed the meetings that are underway regarding the open Document Control Clerk (DCC) jobs that have not been filled yet. With the help of two DCC’s, Janet Gaudet from Quad Cities and Karen Northrop from Byron, Local 15 feels that a better understanding of what a DCC’s work should be will bring these discussions to a successful conclusion.
Another major concern is the work that the clerks have lost with the implementation of the Electronic Work Package (EWP) which has led to several active grievances. Our Nuclear stewards are going to be key in preparing for a possible arbitration.
Managers performing Bargaining Unit work and educating our newer members to keep their work were also topics.
Vice President Terry McGoldrick met with the group and listened to the Stewards’ concerns. He explained that we all need to secure our work and we have a responsibility to pass our knowledge and history on to newer members.
President - Business Manager Dean Apple wrapped up the meeting with a conversation on the political arena and how it will affect Union members. He explained the dangers of not being involved in the political races across Illinois and that everyone’s vote is necessary in November to get the right people in office that will help Local 15 members.
Nuclear Travel/Outage Agreements Extended
IBEW Local 15 and Exelon have reached an agreement extending the current Nuclear Travel and Outage Agreements. The current agreements were set to expire in May 2017 and are now extended until May 31, 2020.