Message From VP Brown: Warm Holiday Greetings to Atomic Workers and Their Families

This has been a year full of changes at the USW International headquarters and with the USW Atomic Energy Workers Council (AEWC).

As you know, International Vice President Carol Landry retired last July and the International Executive Board appointed me to take her place.  I worked with Carol and the council for several years, so I understand the issues affecting nuclear workers and their families as contractors change and government officials come and go.

(L-R) USW International Vice President Roxanne Brown and retired USW International Vice President Carol Landry.

Contractor changes at Hanford

A number of long-term contracts the Department of Energy (DOE) had with its contractors at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are coming to an end. The agency is replacing the Plateau Remediation Contract that CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Company LLC, a subsidiary of Jacobs, held with a Central Plateau Cleanup contract. DOE announced the change on Dec. 12, 2019.

The new contractor is Central Plateau Cleanup Company LLC of Aiken, S.C., and its members are AECOM Management Services, Inc. (Germantown, M.D.); Fluor Federal Services, Inc. (Greenville, S.C.), and Atkins Nuclear Secured, LLC (Oak Ridge, Tenn.).

DOE said the environmental cleanup contract is worth up to $10 billion over a 10-year period.

Under the existing contract with CH2M Hill, nearly 1,700 workers are cleaning up contamination mostly in the center of the Hanford reservation and near the Columbia River.

There will be a 60-day transition period following a notice to proceed to the new contractor.

DOE also announced on Dec. 5 a change in the contractors for the Hanford support services contract. Currently, Mission Support Alliance (MSA) holds the Hanford Mission Essential Services Contract, and provides site, security and emergency services, land management services and information technology services. MSA also manages the Hazardous Material Management and Emergency Response (HAMMER) Federal Training Center in addition other functions.

The new contractor is Hanford Mission Integration Solutions, LLC in Richland, Wash. The contractor’s members are Leidos Integrated Technology, LLC (Gaithersburg, Md.), Centerra Group, LLC (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.), and Parsons Government Services, Inc. (Pasadena, Calif.).

The contract is worth over $4 billion over five years and includes a 120-day transition period. The contract includes a potential option period of three years and a second option period of two years.

Changes at DOE

Amid much media coverage and speculation since last spring, Energy Secretary Rick Perry stepped down effective Dec. 1, 2019.  President Trump nominated his deputy, Dan Brouillette, who sailed through his Senate confirmation hearing in mid-November.

Brouillette previously worked for the DOE and has extensive experience on Capitol Hill.  In the confirmation hearing, he pledged to fight for DOE’s budget.

It looks like the agency will receive the necessary funds for fiscal year 2020. On Dec. 12, congressional appropriators reportedly reached agreement on several funding issues. The House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he expected Congress to vote on Dec. 17 on two funding packages; one included DOE appropriations.

Other Changes

We have had changes in the AEWC executive board as well. AEWC Vice President Herman Potter, from Local 1-689 at the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant cleanup site, stepped down after a number of years on the board, and Matt Chavez, Local 12-652 president at Idaho National Laboratory, was elected to take his place. We also have a new recording secretary, Kayla McWaters, from Local 1-689.

I think we can all agree that the saddest changes of all were the unexpected passing of former AEWC chair and USW International President Kip Phillips in September and District 10 Director Bob LaVenture in November. They were two great union leaders who dedicated their lives to our members. We will miss them greatly.

We are working on establishing an education fund in Kip Phillips’s honor at the International.

For those who wish to honor Director LaVenture, you can make a tax-deductible donation to the Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Organization that helps members rebuild their lives after a natural disaster. Checks should be made out to Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Organization and sent to:  Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Organization, 60 Boulevard of the Allies, Room 1109, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

Let us embrace the New Year ahead with energy, solidarity and action to create a more just workplace for everyone. I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday full of joy, togetherness and relaxation.

In solidarity,

Roxanne D. Brown
USW International Vice President

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