PITTSBURGH, June 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) union on Monday said that it would continue to fight the decision by the Department of Energy (DOE) to cease uranium enrichment at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant after workers received notices that layoffs would begin in August.
About 1,100 employees at the western Kentucky plant, including 580 members of USW Local 550, received notices from the U.S. Enrichment Corporation (USEC) stating that layoffs of about 160 employees would begin between Aug. 5 and Aug. 19. The USEC said more layoffs likely would follow in stages, depending on business needs.
"We cannot afford to stand on the sidelines while good, family-supporting jobs like these simply disappear," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. "This decision has the potential to hurt more than just 1,100 workers and their families – everyone involved has a responsibility to do what we can to save these jobs."
The notices were expected after the USEC said on May 24 that it was not able to conclude a deal for the short-term extension of uranium enrichment at the plant. The USW and Kentucky congressional leaders have been urging the DOE to determine future uses for the plant.
"This is an important moment, not just for the workers at this plant, not just for the Paducah region, but for the entire state," said USW Vice President At-Large Carol Landry. "The loss of these jobs could have devastating effects on the community and businesses in Western Kentucky."
The USW represents about 850,000 members in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean in a wide variety of industries, ranging from glassmaking to mining, paper, steel, tire and rubber to the public sector, service and health care industries. This includes some 5,000 workers in the nuclear sector. For more information, visit www.usw.org.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)