BILL TO HELP SICK HANFORD WORKERS GETS NEW LIFE

BILL TO HELP SICK HANFORD WORKERS GETS NEW LIFE

King5.com

From King5.com: The Washington state Senate Labor and Commerce Committee on Wednesday revived a bill to help sick Hanford workers.

House Bill 1723, initially sponsored by Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, died in the legislative process last year. It would give workers who come down with certain illnesses the presumption that their exposures to chemicals, heavy metals and/or radiation at the nuclear cleanup site caused their diseases such as cancer, toxic encephalopathy (dementia) and lung disease. That presumption is meant to help them get their worker compensation claims accepted.

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House approves bill aimed to help sick Hanford workers

House approves bill aimed to help sick Hanford workers


From KING 5

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Members of the Washington state House of Representatives approved HB 1723 Thursday afternoon, which would help sick Hanford workers get their worker compensation claims approved.

The vote was 69 to 29, and now the matter goes to the Senate.

Prior to the vote, bill sponsor Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, urged his fellow House members to support the measure.

“I would hope that all of us would vote yes. Send a resounding emphasis to the Department of Energy as well as the Hanford contractors that this state backs the Hanford workers and wants to make sure they go home healthy and those who’ve been made ill (at the site) do get the adequate medical care,” said Haler.

HB 1723 aimed to help workers diagnosed with certain illnesses get the care and compensation they need. It would grant a presumption of occupational illness for Hanford workers, similar to what the legislature granted to firefighters in 1987. The illnesses included for Hanford workers include respiratory disease, heart problems experienced after an exposure to toxic chemicals, neurological diseases, such as toxic encephalopathy (occupational induced dementia), and certain cancers.

Pantex Nuclear Workers, CNS Reach Tentative Agreement

For Immediate Release: October 3, 2015
Contact: Ron Ault, 202-508-3705 or Tara Landis, 410-991-6615

Amarillo, TX–After more than a month on strike, the Amarillo Metal Trades Council (MTC), a 10-union coalition representing nearly 1,200 workers at the Pantex Nuclear Weapons facility, and Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) have reached a tentative agreement.

The MTC struck after more than seven months of bargaining when, on August 28, CNS-Pantex presented its “best, last and final” offer. At that time, 87 percent of the unionized workers voted to strike the Amarillo facility.

In late September, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (FMCS) Director, Allison Beck, called the two parties back to the table to resume talks. The proposed agreement is a direct result of those new negotiations.

Highlights of the agreement include improved medical coverage with controlled out-of-pocket medical costs and contained premium increases for current and future employees; maintenance of the defined benefit pension plan for current employees; maintained sick leave earnings and bank; and improved short-term disability benefits.

“This was a hard fought battle,” says MTC President Clarence Rashada. “This strike was never about wages. It was about holding onto hard-won benefits and protecting our member’s future. In this agreement were able to improve several problem areas in the offer that was rejected. It will now go back to our members to vote on, ultimately, they have the final say.”

Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO President Ron Ault is pleased with the proposed agreement and thanked FMCS Deputy Director Scot L. Beckenbaugh, who acted as mediator. “I am very happy that, with the assistance of Federal Mediator Beckenbaugh, the parties were able to come to an fair and equitable agreement that restores the workers hard earned benefits,” said Ault.

In addition to the benefits package, the tentative agreement also gives employees annual wage increases of two percent. MTC represented employees will vote on the proposed agreement on Sunday, October 4.

# # #

The Metal Trades Department is a trade department of the AFL-CIO. It was chartered in 1908 to coordinate negotiating, organizing and legislative efforts of affiliated metalworking and related crafts and trade unions. Seventeen national and international unions are affiliated with the MTD today. More than 100,000 workers in private industry and federal establishments work under contracts negotiated by MTD Councils. Workers retain membership in their own trade unions.

The Amarillo Metal Trades Council is a 10-union Council within the Metal Trades Department that represents roughly 1,200 Pantex workers. The unions include: International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE); United Association (UA); International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers(IBB); Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART); International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT); Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU); International Association of Fire Fighters.

FMCS Statement on Negotiations Between Pantex/Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) And the Metal Trades Council in Amarillo, TX

WASHINGTON, D.C. —The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) announced today that labor negotiations  between Pantex/Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) and the Metal Trades Council in Amarillo, Texas have been temporarily recessed at the request of the federal mediator overseeing the talks to give the parties an opportunity to review new information and engage in internal discussions.

“The parties met this past week and spent many hours in meaningful talks, focused on their mutual efforts to bridge their differences” said FMCS Deputy Director Scot Beckenbaugh. “This temporary recess is necessary in order to allow the parties to assess the new information provided and explore additional avenues for possible resolution. The parties will reconvene next week at a time and location to be determined.”

Because of the sensitivity and the critical importance of the discussions, both the employer and the unions have agreed to a request by FMCS to refrain from commenting to the news media regarding the status and substance of the talks.  In keeping with Agency policy and practice, the FMCS will also have no further comment regarding the status and substance of the talks.

###

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, created in 1947, is an independent U.S. government agency whose mission is to preserve and promote labor-management peace and cooperation. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 10 district offices and more than 60 field offices, the agency provides mediation and conflict resolution services to industry, government agencies

Union Officials Cautiously Optimistic as FMCS Calls Parties Back to the Table in Pantex Nuclear Facility Strike

CORRECTION: The original post of this release stated that the meeting would be held September 28, that date is incorrect. No date has been decided upon at this time.

For Immediate Release: September 16, 2015

Contact:   Ron Ault, 202-508-3705

Or Clarence Rashada, 806-674-1763

 

Amarillo, TX—In a somewhat unusual move, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (FMCS) Director Allison Beck has called DOE contractor Consolidated Nuclear Services and the Amarillo Metal Trades Council (MTC) back to the bargaining table in an effort to resolve the dispute that led to a strike at the Pantex nuclear weapons facility in Amarillo, TX.

In a statement released by the FMCS, Beck states: “While FMCS has been monitoring the situation closely and mediation is normally a completely voluntary process, we cannot stand by and let this critical nuclear weapons facility continue to experience a work stoppage.”

Beck has assigned Deputy Director Scot L. Beckenbaugh as the Federal Mediator.

The move is welcome news to Metal Trades Department President Ron Ault and Amarillo MTC President Clarence Rashada, however both are cautious in their optimism that a resolution will be met.

“This strike has never been about wages,” says Rashada. “It has always been about maintaining the benefits that we have earned and bargained for in previous collective bargaining agreements.”

“I’m pleased that the FMCS has stepped in to assist us in these negotiations,” says Ault. “These workers deserve a fair and equitable contract that includes benefits commensurate with the service they provide our nation.”

Metal Trades Council-represented workers at Pantex are responsible for the nuclear weapons life extension programs: weapons dismantlement; development, testing and fabrication of high explosives components; and storage and surveillance of plutonium pits. This is the only facility in the U.S. responsible for the assembly, disassembly and replacement of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

# # #

The Metal Trades Department is a trade department of the AFL-CIO. It was chartered in 1908 to coordinate negotiating, organizing and legislative efforts of affiliated metalworking and related crafts and trade unions. Seventeen national and international unions are affiliated with the MTD today. More than 100,000 workers in private industry and federal establishments work under contracts negotiated by MTD Councils. Workers retain membership in their own trade unions.

 

The Amarillo Metal Trades Council is a10-union Council within the Metal Trades Department that represents roughly 1,200 Pantex workers. The unions include: International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE); United Association (UA); International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers(IBB); Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART); International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT); Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU); International Association of Fire Fighters.

 

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