PITTSBURGH, May 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) today blasted the decision by the Department of Energy (DOE) not to approve a proposed agreement among Exelon, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), U.S. Enrichment Corporation, Inc. (USEC) and Ameren that would have extended for eight months the enrichment of DOE's stockpile of depleted uranium tails at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.
"DOE's decision to deny this extension has put 1,100 highly skilled, family-sustaining jobs in jeopardy," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. The USW represents 580 workers at the Paducah, Ky., facility. "Our members have been told to expect WARN Act notices as early as June 1," said Gerard.
The DOE decision also has potential to negatively impact TVA and the two power companies that are party to the proposed agreement DOE has declined to approve.
"This is a rough day for the workers here," said USW Local Union 550 Vice President Jim Key. "Not only are workers facing layoffs, but DOE has yet to inform us of its long-term plans for the Paducah site."
The USW and members of the Kentucky congressional delegation have urged DOE to determine future uses for the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. This includes plans for decommissioning and decontamination of the site in a timely manner in order to not leave the workers and community in limbo for years.
"We will continue to press DOE to provide us with concrete answers on the future of the Paducah site," said USW Vice President At-Large Carol Landry. "Our union remains committed to our members at Paducah and we want to ensure that their jobs continue for the long-term. A slow response from DOE on future plans for this site is not acceptable for our members and certainly not for the long-term safety of the community."
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 go to: www.usw.org
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)