Millstone union vote set for next week

Waterford — About 420 of the 1,080 workers at the Millstone Power Station will decide in a two-day election next week whether to unionize.

John Fernandes, business manager for Local 457 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, said Thursday that the vote will take place at the power station on Tuesday and Wednesday. Operators, electricians, plant equipment operators and instrument and controls technicians are among the categories of plant workers deemed eligible to vote by the National Labor Relations Board.

Fernandes said workers need the protection of a contract that union representation would provide. IBEW represents workers at Connecticut Light & Power and Yankee Gas as well as at Norwich Public Utilities and the NRG Energy plant in Montville. A previous effort by IBEW to unionize Millstone workers in 2002, a year after Dominion became the owner of the plant, failed to win enough votes.

“Since Dominion’s taken over, a host of benefits have been taken away,” Fernandes said.

There have been changes in how pensions are calculated, pay differentials for various shifts, vacation allocations, retiree health benefits and overtime, among other areas, he said.

Millstone workers are also unhappy about disparities in pay between employees with the same job classification, Fernandes said.

“That’s been a big issue there,” he said.

Ken Holt, spokesman for Millstone, said Dominion maintains that a union is not needed.

“Dominion respects the rights of its employees to organize,” he said. “But we think the best way to move forward at Millstone is in a non-union environment where we work together on an individual and personal basis.”

Workers at Dominion’s two nuclear power plants in Virginia are unionized.

j.benson@theday.com

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