Hanford Cleanup Workers Vote on One-Year Contract Extension

Members of Local 12-369 will vote Nov. 6 on a one-year contract extension that increases wages and maintains the rest of the existing labor agreement.

The collective bargaining agreement covers approximately 520 USW members—they support the environmental cleanup mission at the Hanford nuclear reservation in central Washington state—as well as more than 2,000 members of other unions at the site.

Photo courtesy the Department of Energy.

The Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council (HAMTC)—an umbrella group consisting of the USW and 13 metal trade unions—negotiated the extension to help provide a measure of security as the Department of Energy (DOE) makes changes in 2020.

The goal was to have the site’s cleanup workers covered by an agreement when the DOE either brings in new contractors or renegotiates its agreements with the existing vendors next year, said Local 12-369 unit President Pete Gomez. The existing labor agreement would have expired in November 2019.

After the DOE awards the cleanup contracts for the former nuclear weapons production site, the Hanford locals will enter full contract negotiations in September 2020.

Gomez said the unions had three main goals for the one-year extension: a general wage increase, successorship language and no structural change in benefits. Successorship is important because it ensures that any new contractor that may take over the cleanup project has to accept the labor contract’s provisions and recognize the union.

HAMTC reached a tentative agreement on Oct. 10 with cleanup contractors Mission Support Alliance (MSA), Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), Veolia and CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Company (CH2M).

The one-year extension includes a 2.5 percent general wage increase and no changes to benefits or the existing successorship clause in the contract.

Battelle, another clean-up contractor, which employs seven USW members, is not included in the one-year extension. This contract is bargained through HAMTC as well and will also need to be renegotiated in 2020.

Members will vote on the tentative agreement on Wed., Nov. 6 from 5 a.m.-7 p.m. at the Richland Labor Temple, 1305 Knight St., in downtown Richland, Wash.

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