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Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
Entergy postpones safety drill at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station
Union blames short staffing, cites safety concerns
Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant managers canceled a safety drill Wednesday because of short staffing by replacement workers during Entergy’s lockout of union workers.
The quarterly safety drills regularly involve municipal public safety officials and detailed simulation of various emergency scenarios and response protocols, according to a press release from Utility Workers Union of America Local 369, whose members have been locked out by the plant’s owner, Entergy Corp. in a labor dispute.
“It’s deeply alarming to know that this critical safety drill was canceled because Entergy doesn’t have enough manpower in the plant, particularly when there are 240 experienced workers ready and willing to do their jobs,” said Dan Hurley, president of the Utility Workers Union of America Local 369.
According to Carol Wightman, a plant spokesman, the drill was put off so workers inside could focus their efforts on safely operate the facility.
Louisiana-based Entergy Corp. recently received a 20-year license renewal from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Entergy last week locked out nearly 250 members of UWUA Local 369 following negotiations with workers over key healthcare, safety and staffing issues.
News of the cancelled safety drill comes as union leaders have scheduled a rally to protest Entergy’s lockout workers, June 19 at 1 p.m. outside the Massachusetts State House. Among those expected to attend are Mass. AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman, Senate President Therese Murray, State Representative Martin Walsh, State Treasurer Steven Grossman, and representatives from other unions.
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