Majority of Millstone guards vote to express no confidence in contractor, Dominion
Waterford — Security guards at the Millstone Power Station overwhelmingly cast votes of no confidence in the contractor they work for and plant owner Dominion Resources, a union spokesman said Monday.
The vote Friday by more than 150 of the plant’s 220 guards was the first ballot of its type taken by the union that represents the guards, the United Government and Security Officers of America Local 19. James Foley, vice president of the union, said the contractor, G4S Regulated Security Solutions, was notified of the results on Sunday, and Dominion was informed on Monday.
The union has not yet received a response.
Foley said 144 guards cast votes of no confidence in G4S, nine cast votes of confidence in the company, and one abstained. On a separate vote about Dominion, 105 guards cast votes of no confidence, 48 cast votes of confidence and one abstained.
The vote took place as the union is in early stages of negotiations toward a new contract with the company. The contract expires in June. Foley said more talks are scheduled and there is no relationship between the no confidence vote and progress toward a new contract.
When it was announced last month that the votes would take place, the union said it organized the no-confidence votes to call attention to the guards’ contentions that G4S and Dominion are not responding sufficiently to their concerns about a safe working environment and reliable equipment. The union has filed six complaints in 2014 and 2015 with the federal Occupational Health & Safety Administration office in Hartford — four against G4S and two against Dominion. OSHA conducted investigations on two of those, both of which have been closed. Foley said the results of the investigations have not yet been released. The OSHA investigations involved exposure of guards to concrete dust created by a contractor at the worksite at the plant and problems with guards' body armor.
For four of the complaints, OSHA sent letters to G4S directing the company to address the guards’ concerns, correct any problems and report back to the agency. The union contends the company’s response has been inadequate.
Union complaints included that equipment provided to the security guards is outdated and not maintained properly. The equipment includes guns, body armor, safety vests and vehicles.
Ken Holt, spokesman for Millstone, issued a brief statement in response to the vote.
"Dominion is confident in the safety and security of Millstone Power Station," he said in an email message. "Due to the ongoing contract negotiations between G4S and the union, we will not comment on the union vote."
In an earlier statement, he said that "no cititations were issued to Millstone" as a result of the OSHA investigations.
In response to a request for comment on the no confidence vote, Monica Lewman-Garcia, spokesman for G4S, released a statement.
"G4S Regulated Security Solutions employees are encouraged to raise any concerns they may have about the business or activities which they believe contravene our code of ethics or put colleagues or those around us at risk of harm," she said in an email message. "In the case of Millstone Power Station, we work closely with our employees, our client Dominion and third party stakeholders like the NRC to ensure that all concerns are investigated and addressed in a timely manner."
She added that G4S has no comment on the status of the ongoing contract negotiations with the Millstone guards.