Local 12-652 Members Overwhelmingly Approve Strong Contract at Idaho National Laboratory

Local 12-652 members who work for Idaho National Laboratory’s cleanup contractor, Idaho Environmental Coalition (IEC), overwhelmingly ratified on May 19 a new five-year agreement with enhanced wage increases, additional pay for various work activities and beneficial contract language.

“I think this is probably the best economic offer I’ve seen in the 33 years I have been employed at the DOE Idaho site,” said Local 12-652 Vice President and unit chair Henry Littlefield.

The contract covers roughly 580 USW-represented workers who are in 22 job classifications ranging from carpenters, mechanics, and electricians to operators, custodians, tool crib attendants and radiation control technicians.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Pay raises range from 15.75 to 19.35 percent over the contract term, depending on job classification.

Littleford said that electricians, Integrated Waste Treatment Unit control room operators and senior radiation control technicians will also receive an 80-cent-per-hour raise before getting the first-year general wage increase.

The contract also stipulates an increase in pay for shift differential, lead upgrade, and respirator use. Employees will receive qualification pay if they obtain certification for mobile crane operation and pass a national accreditation test for radiological control technicians.

The negotiating committee also made advances on contract language. In addition to recreating classifications and improving vacancy bid rights, the local obtained additional subcontracting language and facility closure language for when there is a fire, weather event, or other uncontrollable situation.

Union negotiators also added language requiring the contractor to provide work clothing and cold weather gear and how often they are replaced. Other safety precautions required the company to maintain shower facilities for employees who work in areas where radioactive or other hazards may exist.

“Negotiating with a new company is always a challenge, but if these negotiations are an indication of how IEC will be to work with, we look forward to the next few years,” Littleford said.   

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