Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Labor Lockout Lingers At Honeywell Nuclear Plant

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the no-power-to-the-people dept.

Businesses 252

Hugh Pickens writes "Federal News Radio reports that in Metropolis, Illinois, the nation's only site for refining uranium for eventual use in nuclear power plants, some 230 union workers locked out by the company since last June take turns picketing and warning of possible toxic releases into the community while they're not at their jobs. Even in better times, the plant has been a source of concern. In September 2003, toxic hydrogen fluoride was released in an accident. Three months later, seepage of mildly radioactive gas sent four people to the hospital and prompted the evacuation of nearby residents. Now a recent safety inspection by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission found that temporary workers brought in by Honeywell weren't properly trained and were cheating on tests, and that Honeywell had neglected to report liquids that were released into the air. Metropolis' troubles began last spring when efforts to negotiate a new contract broke down at the Honeywell plant. Honeywell opted not to let the union employees work without a contract, citing the lack of bargaining progress and what it called the union's refusal to agree to provide 24 hours of notice before any strike."

cancel ×

252 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Coverage? (4, Insightful)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627168)

Locked out since June? This seems newsworthy to me, where is the lame stream media on this story?

Re:Coverage? (4, Informative)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627292)

If you want good reporting on labor from anything but a business perspective (ie how will this effect share value), you have to look at the media of the labor movement itself, not the corporate owned and controlled mainstream media. On the Metropolis Honeywell workers in particular, I suggest these two [archive.org] episodes [archive.org] of Labor Express radio. Another good source for labor news is the Industrial Worker [iww.org] , the paper of the IWW.

Re:Coverage? (3, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627420)

Sounds like a job for... SUPERMAN!

Re:Coverage? (0, Flamebait)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627426)

Wait, you are essentially telling us to disregard one sides propaganda in favour of the other sides propaganda. No thanks - I've had enough of union rhetoric for one life time.

Re:Coverage? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627514)

Not disregard, just take in multiple sources and evaluate the truth for yourself.

Sure, unions have issues with corruption (just like every organization of humans ever), but sometimes--perhaps this case is an example--sometimes they actually do fight injustice.

Re:Coverage? (5, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627530)

I think he may have suggested that you look at both sides and make up your own mind.

Re:Coverage? (2)

whoop (194) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627712)

you have to look at the media of the labor movement itself, not the corporate owned and controlled mainstream media

Nope, he's saying to believe his link over any other source.

Re:Coverage? (1)

tangelogee (1486597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627830)

I agree. Not to say that Honeywell is right here with the allegations about their replacements, but both sides have allowed it to come to this.

Re:Coverage? (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34628028)

Well maybe I did give him too much credit. Anyway it's always good advice to look at both sides and make up your own mind.

Re:Coverage? (3, Insightful)

psm321 (450181) | more than 3 years ago | (#34628254)

How about quoting the whole sentence instead of selectively picking the part that makes your point?

If you want good reporting on labor from anything but a business perspective (ie how will this effect share value), you have to look at the media of the labor movement itself, not the corporate owned and controlled mainstream media.

It's worth checking both sides info (2, Informative)

fantomas (94850) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627892)

Perhaps it might be worth you checking both sides' information before coming a conclusion as well? Though I am afraid your line "No thanks - I've had enough of union rhetoric for one life time" suggests you'll only "disregard one sides propaganda in favour of the other sides propaganda".

Sounds like you're both equally at fault here.

Re:It's worth checking both sides info (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34628020)

Personally, I don't want to read either side's propaganda. They both say the other side is lying, so you end up with a heaping pile of bullshit and no way to figure out what's true and what's not.

Re:It's worth checking both sides info (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#34628114)

Nope, I disregard *both* sides press releases or articles, and get my information from independent sources.

Take for example the recent situation where the Association of Flight Attendants union filed "interference" claims against Delta when the workforce voted against AFA unionisation - the AFA press release and literature was quite damning, more than 50 pages of accusations against Delta. Deltas response was equally self centered.

Looking deeper into it and you will find plenty of Delta workers who were willing to shout wide and loud that AFAs claims where bullcrap, with many saying they voted for AFA and if the vote was to be rerun, they would now vote against AFA, along with the fact that over the course of several short months, about half a dozen unionisation attempts within Delta were all rejected by the workforces in question - Delta employees do not want unionisation, and yet AFA doesn't care.

Equally the British Airways Unite fiasco - with the rhetoric flying so thick and fast that Unite actually ended up insulting the members of one of its own branches because the Unite spokesman wanted to get a quick jab in at BA without checking his own facts first (he called a group of workers unfit for purpose, and then someone pointed out that they were represented by Unite...)!

Once, unions served a great and honourable purpose. Today, that purpose isn't as great and honourable as it once was, because the unions of yesteryear won the great battles to give us fair labour laws. The unions have few battles left to fight, and little intention of fighting the ones that actually matter.

Take a guess... (3, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627384)

Locked out since June? This seems newsworthy to me, where is the lame stream media on this story?

Hmmm. Union workers are locked out of their jobs by their employer. I wonder why that didn't make the news, when any case of a union considering a vote on talking about thinking about announcing the possibility of maybe polling to take a vote on a half-day strike makes the news immediately?

Re:Take a guess... (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627446)

There is no labour contract in force, so those jobs are not the union workers any longer.

Re:Take a guess... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627488)

There is no labour contract in force, so those jobs are not the union workers any longer.

Ummm ... no.

If that were the case, as soon as a contract expired and you locked them out, you could fire them all and bring in new staff. That is illegal.

You are talking out of your ass.

Re:Take a guess... (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627576)

Its only illegal because that's the way the Unions bought the laws - make it expensive to switch the workforce wholesale away. You cannot have a job without a labour contract (whether an individual one or a collective one), and as one does not exist in this particular situation.... well, its pretty plain to see what that means.

Re:Take a guess... (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627710)

So it's safe to assume that you are against unions in general and see no benefit in collective bargaining?

Anyway it appears you are placing blame completely on the workers who perform the work, and none on the company that actually controls the work, the pay, the safety of the operations, and the working conditions. How dare the employees ask for better working conditions or negotiate a contract! They should be happy with what they get..

Re:Take a guess... (5, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627864)

I see benefit in collective bargaining, but I am against unions as they have made themselves today.

I dislike the fact that in quite a few places if a union gets in at your work place you have to join or quit - you cannot remain outside of the collective agreement and retain your job.

I dislike the fact that in quite a few places a union can call a unionization vote year after year after year until they get in.

I dislike the fact that in quite a few places unionization can stagnate a workforce rather than improve it - seniority based on nothing more than time spent in the job, rather than merit based seniority? What rubbish.

I dislike the fact that the unionized workforce can withdraw their labour at any time, by following certain rules, while the employer has no equal ability - they have to wait until the contract is no longer in force before they have the right to lock out the workforce, while the union can call strike action whenever it likes.

I have seen far far too many examples of unions being the worst of two choices for all involved, I have seen far far too many examples of unions seeking to simply hurt the employer because the employer wouldn't give in to their demands lock stock and barrel.

I'm not an employer, I'm a 31 year old software developer. I have no stake in unions other than my opinion, but what I have seen of modern unions I have, largely, disliked to the extreme.

Maybe I've been improperly influenced by my exposure to union actions (largely the aviation industries woes over the past few years, as aviation is a personal interest of mine - British Airways issues with Unite are particularly disgusting imho), but then I see the same issues outside of my particular circle of interest, so I don't think its that.

And no, I'm not saying its all the workers fault, but their union certainly did fail to come to an agreement, so its not all the employers fault either.

Re:Take a guess... (4, Informative)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34628082)

That's a bit misleading.

I see benefit in collective bargaining, but I am against unions as they have made themselves today.
Why not support unions that are more democratic than the traditional unions? The UE and the IWW are member run and as democratic as possible.

you cannot remain outside of the collective agreement and retain your job.
In most of the US you don't have to join a union to work in a union shop. Now, you have to pay the same costs as dues to support the infrastructure (stewards, negotiators, etc) that benefits you, but you don't have to actually join the union.

I dislike the fact that in quite a few places a union can call a unionization vote year after year after year until they get in.
Sounds like democracy to me. Hell, why not have automatic elections every year for ALL workplaces where workers can choose which, if any, union they wish to join?

the union can call strike action whenever it likes.
Almost every union contract has a no-strike clause. Strikes tend to happen before a contract (strike for recognition), or after a contract expires.

Re:Take a guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627988)

It's not the workers but the Union organization that's to blame, I'm suspecting.

Unions at one point in time, served a purpose. These days, they've morphed into something that's not quite so useful save to the Union bosses and the Democrats...and in truth, they're seeking something that's typically only in their best interests.

Re:Take a guess... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627836)

Its only illegal because that's the way the Unions bought the laws - make it expensive to switch the workforce wholesale away.

And you think that would be a good thing? If companies could just at will toss their entire workforce to find someone to do it cheaper who may or may not be qualified?

Well, in your world, when all of the jobs are offshored to Indonesia or something, and your fancy Western lifestyle is no longer viable I'm sure you will be quite happy rooting around in the muck and recycling the heavy metals from the computers in India.

I'd rather have some legal protection for Unions that have every greedy cocksucker with an MBA decide to apply their economic gutting as they see fit -- all in the name of profit and executive bonuses. If you have children, I hope they enjoy the world you imagine for them.

Re:Take a guess... (2, Insightful)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627638)

If only it were that easy to get rid of union control, GM and Chrysler may have fared better.

Re:Take a guess... (1)

onepoint (301486) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627824)

Well Ford was able to handle the storm, and under Henry Fords old ( very modern thinking ) idea's , business must end at some point so that the knowledge gain is spread and new companies sprout to replace out of date companies. Unions keep to old business models, they must be more flexible.

Re:Take a guess... (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627834)

Sure. because they would make all their cars in China.

Re:Take a guess... (4, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34628220)

A little free advice for you here - don't feed that troll. The slashdot conservative mantra around here is "unionz iz teh evol!" and is repeated ad nauseum even when it doesn't relate to the situation. You won't get the conservatives to believe otherwise, regardless of the mountains of evidence you put in front of them; their very existence pivots on that assumption and they can't stand to consider it being even the slightest bit wrong.

Re:Coverage? (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627458)

Locked out since June? This seems newsworthy to me, where is the lame stream media on this story?

Doesn't take a conspiracy to notice that its "only" 200 temporarily locked out, in an era of multi-thousand permanent downsizings everywhere else.

In 2006, two hundred out of work may have made the news. In 2010, two hundred out of work is called the local unemployment line "dept of workforce development" or whatever they're called.

There was a lot of gallows humor locally when the local unemployment office put itself in the parking lot of the local tech/trade school. "theres a reason they're planning on needing thousands of parking spaces", "After then complete their IT training / become a video game developer in 24 hours certificate, as per the radio commercials promising $75/yr, the kids can walk across the parking lot to the unemployment office", etc.

Re:Coverage? (3, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627636)

Doesn't take a conspiracy to notice that its "only" 200 temporarily locked out, in an era of multi-thousand permanent downsizings everywhere else.

Except maybe the tiny fact that these 230 workers are being locked out of a nuclear plant with a less than stellar safety record. Who's monitoring the radioactive materials during this lockout?

Funny the government can prevent a union from striking if the industry is considered too important to our nation's infrastructure (eg. Railroads, Air Traffic Controllers), but this same government won't get involved in a labor dispute that may put a community at risk like at a nuclear plant. Funny how government intervention seems to favor the employer and not the employees.

Is that contraversial enough for you?

Re:Coverage? (4, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627750)

Doesn't take a conspiracy to notice that its "only" 200 temporarily locked out, in an era of multi-thousand permanent downsizings everywhere else.

Except maybe the tiny fact that these 230 workers are being locked out of a nuclear plant with a less than stellar safety record. Who's monitoring the radioactive materials during this lockout?

You fell for the advertising. Sorry. Don't feel bad, a lot of people are paid a lot of money to trick people like you.

This plant just converts semi-refined ore into refined fuel. Before its cooked in the reactor, reactor fuel is about as radioactive and harmful as granite. The Co-60 and Sr-90 and other nasties come from fission, not a fuel for fission. There is no serious radioactive danger from the plant, at least compared to other substances in the plant, such as HF.

The biggest problem they have is containment of hydrofluoric acid. Apparently they have a quite an astounding safety violation history. F-ing bucket chemists. However, that stuff doesn't just leap out of the carboy like a caged animal and burrow into your groundwater, it requires a tech at the lab bench to screw up. Whom by definition is not there during a lockout.

We're not talking about locking the workers out of three mile island during the meltdown. Some of the (paid) clowns in the media trying to rile things up, they might be talking about that, or as close as they can get without libel / slander suits, but that does not by any means make it true.

Re:Coverage? (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34628138)

No I didn't fall for the advertising. The hazards that are present during operations do not completely go away when operations stop. I assume that the chemicals are being stored somewhere on premise. Who's monitoring it?

The word radiation doesn't scare me. If the safety regulations are to be believed then I should be glowing in the dark by now. However in the case of the Honywell plant, how are the chemicals being stored and what about the radioactive fuel that is no longer inert yet not delivered? Meltdown isn't a risk, but pollution is and it's toxic as well.

Re:Coverage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34628090)

The RR rules are to prevent one city from snarling the whole network as a 99% open railroad is only 50% or so operable.

Re:Coverage? (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34628198)

Not all railroad strike occur on a corridor. We had a labor dispute at a railroad company that only serves to deliver railcars from the local waterfront to the mainline being operated by CSX. The national railroad infrastructure was never being threaten, but the federal government stepped in and prevented the workers from striking.

Oh yea we have these vehicles that run on interstates that compete with railroads. We call them trucks.

Re:Coverage? (1)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627696)

After then complete their IT training / become a video game developer in 24 hours certificate, as per the radio commercials promising $75/yr, the kids can walk across the parking lot to the unemployment office

You can't collect unemployment insurance payments unless you have worked for at least a year.

Re:Coverage? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627842)

After then complete their IT training / become a video game developer in 24 hours certificate, as per the radio commercials promising $75/yr, the kids can walk across the parking lot to the unemployment office

You can't collect unemployment insurance payments unless you have worked for at least a year.

"gallows humor" does not achieve its fame because of its accuracy. Its still funny, even if not true.

I am told that for decades the advice at the unemployment office was "go to the tech school and get a new career", hence the move to their parking lot, but now that ALL fields are imploding, I'm not sure that an unemployed and experienced carpenter will necessarily be better off as an unemployed and inexperienced welder. Although, I suppose its something to do, rather than watch Oprah all day.

Re:Coverage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34628158)

, as per the radio commercials promising $75/yr, the kids can walk across the parking lot to the unemployment office", etc.

It must be worse than I thought if the promise of $75 per year got people to sign up...

Re:Coverage? (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627550)

Locked out since June? This seems newsworthy to me, where is the lame stream media on this story?

My B.S. detector is going off.

Am I the only one taking note of "Federal News Radio" as being pretty much unheard of? The name sounds like a network, yet it is apparently a single station, WFED a directional AM station in Washington D.C.
http://www.federalnewsradio.com/ [federalnewsradio.com] It's strange that the website shows 1500 AM, but doesn't even mention the call letters. I'm surprised to see so many stories listed on the website, and puzzled that the large buttons near the top of the page don't link anywhere.

The story may be legitimate, but I'm very suspicious of news sources that seem to pop up out of nowhere with weighty-sounding names. There certainly are interest groups that cook up such things for one agenda or another.

FCC technical details for 1500 AM
http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/amq?list=0&facid=74120 [fcc.gov]

It looks like the source is just another news-talk AM station
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WFED [wikipedia.org]

Re:Coverage? (1)

camperslo (704715) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627778)

It looks like "Federal News Radio" has nothing special to do with this story, they're just an AM News Talk station carrying A.P. (Associated Press) stories. Looks like I got suspicious over nothing.

It would be nice if more summaries had links that went back as close as possible to the original source.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SUPERMANS_HOMETOWN_LABOR_STRIFE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2010-12-20-16-54-53 [ap.org]

Re:Coverage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627644)

Why is their stock [google.com] doing sooo well?

Re:Coverage? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627690)

I'm one of the locked out workers. We have been reaching out to the national media outlets since June. If it weren't for sites like the HuffPost, and this one, we would just be forgotten about.

Re:Coverage? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34628024)

I'm one of the locked out workers. We have been reaching out to the national media outlets since June. If it weren't for sites like the HuffPost, and this one, we would just be forgotten about.

I'm sorry dude, best of luck.

So, in the opinion of a guy whom works there, that being you, is the safety record of the plant as bad as I've heard, or is it the usual mix of political stuff mixed with scary words to improve ratings? Also everyone with an industrial background knows theres safety problems because of management, and theres safety problems because of workers, and theres safety problems because of bad luck/inherent issues of the job (is there any place that works with HF that is not "scary"?), and being anonymous you can probably honestly answer here what ratios apply for each source of the safety problems. Of course being anonymous we'll also never know if you're working for management and/or lying, but I'm sure it'll be an interesting answer regardless.

NOT newsworthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627850)

The plant is in Metropolis. Why don't they just call Superman? I understand there is a reporter there who wears glasses who knows where he is.

Re:Coverage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627926)

Lame stream media is too busy covering ( American Idol | America's Got Talent | Dancing With the Stars ) (circle one depending on what time of year it is)

Reminds me something... (5, Funny)

Jimpqfly (790794) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627172)

"Everything is under control, our main Technical Adviser is Homer Simpson."

Re:Reminds me something... (1)

aikodude (734998) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627444)

"Everything is under control, our main Technical Adviser is Homer Simpson."

Homer Simpson, eh? He's not as stupid as he looks, or sounds, or our best testing indicates...

Labor Problems... IN METROPOLIS?? (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627866)

Guys, wait... WAIT! the chick's a ROBOT! Hold On!! Didja hear me?? THE CHICK'S A ROBOT!!!

My Slim Annecdotal Evidence Confirms... (3, Informative)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627176)

Honeywell didn't train the guys who came to my business to repair the alarm system (they later sold their alarm business).

People showed up with no testing equipment to check for open lines, bad connections, etc.

Re:My Slim Annecdotal Evidence Confirms... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627206)

Wow. Just, wow. The whole correlation/causation thing is completely lost on you, isn't it? You know, Honeywell makes commercial grade coffee makers as well, and not long ago I met a Honeywell employee who stated that he DOES NOT LIKE COFFEE!!!!11!one!!!

Re:My Slim Annecdotal Evidence Confirms... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627242)

Wow. Just, wow. The whole correlation/causation thing is completely lost on you, isn't it?

Or reading comprehension is lost on you.

He specifically says "Slim Anecdotal Evidence", meaning he knew damned well he didn't have anything other than one or two personal experiences.

Do you even know what correlation/causation mean? Neither actually apply here.

Re:My Slim Annecdotal Evidence Confirms... (3, Insightful)

azalin (67640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627452)

If Honeywell dares to employ untrained/unqualified people in a nuclear power plant they should be prosecuted. And sued. Into oblivion.
I would suggest that every company running potentially dangerous factories should be forced to place their ceo's offices and shareholder meetings directly downwind from said facility.
Where is the FBI when you need them?

Re:My Slim Annecdotal Evidence Confirms... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627586)

At least a few of them are engaged in giving angry young men access to fake bombs.

Re:My Slim Annecdotal Evidence Confirms... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627692)

Honeywell's on my shit list right now; they shut down the Springfield plant and moved it to Mexico where they could pay slave wages, leaving some friends of mine out of work.

They're your typical, amoral evil corporation.

Re:My Slim Annecdotal Evidence Confirms... (0)

akboss (823334) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627780)

But it was Clinton who signed NAFTA into law allowing them to move out of the country as a bennie to America.

Re:My Slim Annecdotal Evidence Confirms... (2)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627930)

What's that got to do with anything?

Have every last one of them declared terrorists. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627182)

A lockout strike at the grocery store is one thing, but a nuclear plant? When people living nearby could get hurt? Good grief.

Re:Have every last one of them declared terrorists (2)

bmajik (96670) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627214)

All privately employed people, be they doctors or nuclear plant employees or anything else, should have the right to withhold their labor.

Otherwise, you have a situation known as "slavery".

Now, these guys may very well be in breach of contractual obligations to show up for work.

Re:Have every last one of them declared terrorists (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627322)

All privately employed people, be they doctors or nuclear plant employees or anything else, should have the right to withhold their labor.

They do - its called "quitting". In this case, they essentially quit because the fixed term labour contract their union has them working under has expired without a replacement or formal temporary continuation in place and the employer does not want an informal temporary continuation to act as the basis of continuing employment.

However, heres the kicker - I'm not 100% familiar with the jurisdiction that covers this particular dispute, but quite often due to labour law even though the union contract has expired, the employer cannot replace the work force within a particular time frame (several months). The union (and the workers) have the power here, its far from slavery.

Re:Have every last one of them declared terrorists (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627354)

The workers didn't choose to quit.

The employer unilaterally decided the workers weren't worth their pay, and isn't letting them come back to work until they capitulate and give the employer everything they want. The people in charge are playing hostage games, not the people who were staffing the plant.

Re:Have every last one of them declared terrorists (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627464)

Wrong - the employer didn't unilaterally decide anything, they *and* the union failed to reach an agreement, so there are two parties responsible for the current situation, not one. The union is as much at fault here as the employer.

Re:Have every last one of them declared terrorists (4, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627796)

Wrong. The employer is playing hardball and chose to lockout the employees. They could have agreed to continue working without a contract but still under the old contract terms until an agreement is reached for a new contract.

Someone needs to look up what "locked out" means.

I'm not assuming that the union workers are being reasonable. I just think that placing blame solely on the unions and make an argument against their existence is just as much bullshit as to blindly accept everything a union says as gospel. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

Re:Have every last one of them declared terrorists (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#34628206)

I know what the term means, and I am guessing that you read the summary and the article (and perhaps other material on the internet or elsewhere) and have informed yourself...? The employer wanted certain guarantees before agreeing to an informal continuation of the contract, the union refused to give those guarantees - now the employer has to staff the station to mitigate any risk of an immediate walk out, so if they are doing that anyway, why not use that as pressure on the union and tell the workforce their labour is no longer needed?

The union certainly bears some of the blame here - the employer made the decision to "lock out" the workforce, but they are not unilaterally responsible for the situation that has lead to that.

Re:Have every last one of them declared terrorists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627840)

BAH! You're just another dead Reagan, right wing troll. You work for the union busting Pinkertons?

Re:Have every last one of them declared terrorists (1)

bmajik (96670) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627848)

While other poster(s) indicate that you are wrong, that's irrelevant. The employer absolutely ought to be able to do such a thing.

The NLRB and federally guaranteed union powers in the USA are really disgusting. I think unions are a fine thing and every employee ought to have the right to join a union -- and every employer ought to have the right to say "fuck off, you're fired immediately and forever, we will NEVER allow union labor here"

Re:Have every last one of them declared terrorists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627274)

A lockout strike at the grocery store is one thing, but a nuclear plant? When people living nearby could get hurt? Good grief.

From TFA: some 230 union workers locked out by the company

Re:Have every last one of them declared terrorists (2, Insightful)

Platinum Dragon (34829) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627440)

...ok, you know there is a difference between a lockout and a strike, right? The employer initiates a lockout, the workers/bargaining unit initiates a strike.

So you're saying the plant management should be declared terrorists? I just want to make sure I, and possibly you, understand what you're typing.

Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627186)

Seems like if the union workers were to strike, the potential for a lot of damage would be high.

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627210)

Yea, we really need that slavery thing back in order to be able to run things profitably.

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (3, Insightful)

tangelogee (1486597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627284)

Yea, we really need that slavery thing back in order to be able to run things profitably.

If the unions did what they were intended to do, instead of make the process as expensive and cumbersome as possible, I might agree with you.

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627318)

If the unions did what they were intended to do

Please define what you think the unions were "intended" to do. Their job is to push for the rights, safety and benefits of the workers.

Or, do you have some really narrow Republican definition of what a union is "supposed" to be doing that nobody else accepts?

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627328)

That is what they are supposed to do. In my personal experience, they push for the benefits of the union management, and don't give a flying fuck about the workers.

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (1)

tangelogee (1486597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627352)

...and charge the workers money whether they wish to be in it or not.

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (2)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627938)

The union can argue that the job and it's pay and benefits exists because of the collective bargaining that they performed. I'm always suspicious of people who work at a union plant, but choose to not participate in the union. They obviously benefit from the collective bargaining, but they don't want to give up any of their wage toward the cause.

I'm not saying that the union bosses can be trusted since there's been more than a few criminal cases that suggest otherwise. However, this isn't the Sopranos (or whatever your favorite mafia show maybe) and it's a little unfair to paint all unions with that stereotypical brush.

I've learned from personal experience (I'm not a union employee) that if I'm against being part of a collective agreement then I should make sure I work in a non-union shop. Especially during strikes or lockouts...

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34628240)

The union can argue that the job and it's pay and benefits exists because of the collective bargaining that they performed. I'm always suspicious of people who work at a union plant, but choose to not participate in the union. They obviously benefit from the collective bargaining, but they don't want to give up any of their wage toward the cause.

I used to work in a location (graduate students in the University of California system) that had a union. It always bugged the hell out of me that I had to pay money to them even though I wasn't a member and didn't need them for anything. Sure, the labor union was getting a lot out of its relationship with the university. The members of the union sometimes did as well. That's the thing I always remember. The union in this case wasn't the members, it was just another parasitic bureaucracy that happened to have pull through its members.

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (1)

tangelogee (1486597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627412)

The unions are intended to do just that. However, I have found that they usually just hinder any progress unless it benefits them. Such as, for argument's sake, not being able to train anyone on new software, because we (technology) cannot require them to stay beyond their allotted union-agreed time. However, when they blow up their workstations because they do something wrong, it is my fault that they weren't trained on it.

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627502)

"However, when they blow up their workstations because they do something wrong, it is my fault that they weren't trained on it."

What? Like press the "'asplode now" button? Instead of training, why not remove that button or at least disable it? It sounds like it IS your fault.

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627914)

If management did what they are supposed to do, unions would have never come into existence.

Sorry, I've worked union and non-union shops, and the amount of corruption in the non-union shops is to a degree that the corruption of the union is laughable in comparison.

And even now, the amount of lawsuits the union prevents by keeping management honest is no trifling matter.

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627980)

Yea we shouldn't be wasting money on livable wages and a safe work environment. Perish the thought that we had some process in place to verify that workplace rules were being followed. The process benefits the company just as much as the union. The process is what makes sure that both sides are doing what they agreed to do.

You don't actually believe that either side can be trusted?

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (2)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34628014)

If the unions did what they were intended to do, instead of make the process as expensive and cumbersome as possible

Unions are nothing more than workers banding together to bargain collectively. That's all any union I ever heard of does. It is not in the worker's best interest to make the process expensive OR cumbersome.

You're watching too much Fox. Unions are good for workers, bad for management. In the words of the CEO of a (then) non-union airline, "any company that gets a union deserves one." Treat your workers fairly and they won't unionize. A company with a union workforce NEEDS a union.

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627294)

It's actually the worst of both worlds.

When (not if) left unchecked, greedy business owners will generally do shit that endangers the people.
When (not if) left unchecked, lazy unions will lower the drive for greatness while costing a shitload of money.
When (not if) left unchecked, government will pretty much screw up anything it touches.

In short, everybody is wrong and there's nothing we can do about it (aside from sitting back, cracking open a cold one, and watching the shit hit the fan). Anyone who tries to convince me different is probably just a shill for the left/right/center/green/pastafarian/anarchist/communist/socialist/libertarian/torry/whig/no-nothing/log-cabin movement(s),

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (1)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627630)

You hit the nail on the head, the way to keep people honest is to pit man against man and make sure that there is enough impartiality in the system for this adversarial system of checks and balances to be effective.

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (3, Insightful)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627326)

Union workplaces are, statistically speaking, much safer than non-union workplaces in the same and related industries. When you have a collective bargaining agreement, job security, and an explicit grievance procedure, you aren't afraid to report and fix safety problems. When you're non-union, you have no representation, are underpaid, and can loose your job at any time, so you won't stick your neck out for safety. I would most certainly prefer that nuclear workers (or any power-plant workers for that matter), be union.

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627410)

[Citation Needed]

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (5, Informative)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627798)

[Citation Needed]
OK Here's some data:
Herbert Abrams’ Short history of occupational health, published in the Journal
of Public Health Policy, says: “It is important to recognize that throughout the often
tragic history of worker health and disease, the worker played a primary role as the basis
of every significant improvement in legislation, factory inspection, compensation,
correction, and prevention.”

Abrams concludes: “Labour unrest, protests, strikes, lawsuits, and catastrophes were vital
catalysts in obtaining action. Organized labour has been the essential factor central to
most workplace health and safety improvements, from the industrial revolution to the
present.”

The Canadian Labour Congress cites a 1993 study done for the Canadian Ministries of
Labour which concludes that union-supported health and safety committees have a
significant "impact in reducing injury rates".

Later studies for the Ontario Workplace Health and Safety Agency “found that 78-79 per
cent of unionized workplaces reported high compliance with health and safety legislation
while only 54-61 per cent of non-unionized workplaces reported such compliance.”

But this isn’t a Canadian phenomenon. US academic Adam Seth Litwin, then with the London School of Economics,
concluded in a review last year of health and safety in UK workplaces that unions
dramatically improve safety in even the most hazardous workplaces.
A non-union office worker was, by Litwin’s calculations, 13 times more likely to suffer
an injury than was a closed-shop union worker on an industrial assembly line.

Even in the US, with a relatively low unionization level of 13 per cent, the effect can be
seen. A 1991 study, using US data, concluded that unions dramatically increased
enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in the manufacturing sector.
Unionized firms had a higher probability of having a health and safety inspection, and
their inspections tended to be more probing, as employees exercised their “walkaround
rights” — the right to accompany a government inspector during a workplace tour.

A 1998 paper provides more evidence of the union safety effect. Researchers who
surveyed over 400 industrial hygienists and safety engineers in New Jersey concluded
“effective strategies for involving workers appear to be conditional on a number of
variables, most importantly on worker activism and the effective use of formal
negotiations.”
The researchers, writing in the Journal of Public Health Policy, add: “Findings are
consistent with studies from both the US and abroad which emphasize the role of unions
in shaping opportunities for effective worker participation."

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627664)

Another good argument is on a large scale statistical basis, the more of a monopoly a company is, the lower the quality of management. It seems intuitively obvious, folks whom can compete and win, will take leadership roles in competitive industries where their skills will be rewarded, those whom compete and lose will need to find a place where they can't lose because there is no competition. So there's a continuous sweeping of the bottom of the leadership pool into monopolies, government, hyper-regulated industries, etc.

Food store / one man shops = either great management skills or they rapidly go out of business.

Regional public utility / local government / bank = pretty iffy

Sole supplier in a hyper regulated industry / fedgov = those guys must be awful, can't lead starving dogs to raw meat class of ability.

If they statistically have poor management, a factor of that known incompetence probably includes lack of safety focus. If the union has any safety focus at all, even if nothing more than wanting to keep their contributing members alive to continue to contribute, well, sadly that might be the only safety focus that exists at the plant...

It would be interesting to see the safety figures from, say, small CNC machine shops, for union vs non-union. My guess is there would be little difference as thats a pretty competitive = well managed industry.

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (1)

Biggseye (1520195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627790)

I really think you need to have a source available for that statement. In my experience it is just the opposite. Union workers are, in general, less productive, less attentive, and less trust worthy than non union labor. Deliberate destruction of equipment, shoddy workmanship, and an attitude that they know more or better than the owners of the company, or anyone else for that matter. The Auto industry is a prime example of unions run amok. No, unions are a bad idea anywhere attention to detail, specialized skills or when life and death decisions are made.

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (2)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627958)

and an attitude that they know more or better than the owners of the company

Any competent worker has this attitude.

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34628216)

Union workers are, in general, less productive, less attentive, and less trust worthy than non union labor. Deliberate destruction of equipment, shoddy workmanship, and an attitude that they know more or better than the owners of the company, or anyone else for that matter.

I believe you're confusing cause and effect.

The cause is shoddy poor management. The effect is lower productivity, lower attention (whatever that is), lack of trust, deliberate sabotage, shoddy work, and, yes, union organization / formation. Writing a union charter does not magically create bad feelings on both sides. Those bad feelings were there for very good reasons.

Aside from government intervention situations, both union and non-union plants are successful, and that is proof there is little difference other than management quality. Is not management responsible for their actions and decisions? And the decisions of incompetents leads to unionization? Thus poor management is the cause of unionization? The non-union plants would seem to have better leadership at all levels and the union shops would seem to have the incompetent leaders. If they were any good, trust me that 99.9% of the workers would rather watch american idol instead of union organizing in their spare time.

Think about your lifetime work experiences and your friends and coworkers experiences... I've never worked in, nor directly heard about, a union workplace that didn't desperately need the union due to completely dysfunctional management, and the opposite is also true that I've no experience, direct or heresay, in a non-union scenario where I've felt a union would be much of an improvement.

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (0)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34628026)

But, nuclear safety is not up to the union but rather the federal government. There is something very worrisome that President Obama said about coal mining: http://blogs.wvgazette.com/coaltattoo/2010/08/05/obama-touts-miners-union-praises-clean-coal/ [wvgazette.com] He wants miners to join a union for safety. But, really it is his responsibility to make all mines safe, union or non-union. Actually, there is not a lot of evidence that union mines are much safer than non-union mines. It is hard to tell because there are not that many union mines anymore. But, the President's attitude is a disastrous. And it shows. He's had more coal miners killed this year than in any given year of the last two administrations.

Re:Unions in nuclear power industry is a bad combo (1)

crmarvin42 (652893) | more than 3 years ago | (#34628100)

This is completely contrary to my experience. We have union workers at our university farm, and their major job appears to be to try and avoid doing anything that they haven't done at least 1,000 times before. They loath change, even change that is in their best interest. Heaven forbid they need to adapt to a changing workplace environment like the rest of the Freakin' world.

Unions began to protect labor from aggressive management, but most unions I've run across have long ago abandoned that goal in favor of simply increasing the power of the union's top echelon. I'm sure that their are good, and effective unions out there, but they are the exception and not the rule in my (admitedly anecdotal) experience.

The solution to high risk situations like a nuclear power plant are not unions, but comprehensive regulation with frequent, random, and invasive assessments to ensure that the regulations are being met. However, that is expensive, and when Senator XYZ needs money to fund a pet project that'll increase their chances of successfully being re-elected, necessary regulation gets short-changed in favor of something best funded by state and local governments, if at all.

What they do there (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627400)

They convert uranium ore [globalsecurity.org] -- usually in the form of uranium oxides ("yellow cake") -- into uranium hexafluoride [wikipedia.org] by eventually dissolving it in hydrofluoric acid. That gas is then what gets run through centrifuges [wikipedia.org] or gas diffusion plants to isotopically enrich the U-235. So, it's a lot of messy chemistry (see links) with mildly radioactive materials (uranium isn't strongly radioactive). HF is particularly nasty because although it is a weak acid it reacts with almost anything and it is quite toxic.

Here's a video from the workers talking about it (2, Informative)

nysus (162232) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627498)

See http://blip.tv/file/4535436 [blip.tv]

These guys are hard core and fighting the good fight. Their struggle against corporate greed should be our struggle.

Re:Here's a video from the workers talking about i (1)

jwl17330536 (1603439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627746)

These guys are hard core and fighting the good fight. Their struggle against corporate greed should be our struggle.

Yes, we should feverisly try to bite that hand that feeds probably ~70% of the people on this site. I'm so angry for at the corporate world that pays me all year long and then expects to tell me when/how to work. Where the hell do they get off bro?

I'm with you! Where do I sign up for this "good fight" with these fellow "hard core" guys?

Re:Here's a video from the workers talking about i (4, Informative)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627970)

I'm so angry for at the corporate world that pays me all year long

You should be! The only way the shareholders make any money is by paying you less than the full value of your work and keeping the rest for themselves.

Re:Here's a video from the workers talking about i (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34628134)

The pay you receive for the work you perform is by definition the value of your work. If you accept less pay than you think your work is worth, than it is you who is devaluing your work not the shareholders.

Re:Here's a video from the workers talking about i (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34628132)

Depends what the hand that feeds you wants you to do for your money.

Re:Here's a video from the workers talking about i (1)

jwl17330536 (1603439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34628244)

And if that hand that feeds you is paying you less than your worth then you have the ability to cease working for said pay. Is there not a single business owner on this website?

Why is this not "REAL" news? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34627680)

Seriously? We're watching Iran's nuclear progress EVERY SINGLE DAY.

But in "the nation's only site for refining uranium for eventual use in nuclear power plants", we have an ominous signs of an inevitable accident, and not one single large media organization is regularly following it.

"liquids that were released into the air"?!? (2, Informative)

dtmos (447842) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627742)

What did they do, release an aerosol? I hate imprecise reporting.

Anyway, the primary source (the safety report from the NRC) is available from the union local web site [usw7-669.com] . (I confirmed that the same document is available directly from the NRC, but couldn't find a URL that didn't include my personal information.)

Nuclear power is safe... (2)

rbanzai (596355) | more than 3 years ago | (#34627838)

...it's the people producing it that are dangerous.

Oh for %&*#'s sake (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#34628200)

This is _exactly_ the sort of thing that shouldn't be done by private companies. Private companies will _always_ cut corners and compromise the health and welfare of local citizens. The ones that don't get run out of business by the ones that do. Take a look at dialysis clinics. The private ones have a 25%-30% higher death rate. Google it, it's all over the (independent) news.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>