Congressman calls for Entergy to get workers back to work
Congressman Bill Keating joined the locked-out Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant employees as they picketed outside the Plymouth facility Tuesday.
On June 5, almost 250 union workers were escorted offsite when their contract with the plant's owner Entergy expired. According to Entergy, the positions were filled by Pilgrim plant managers along with managers from other Entergy-owned and/or -operated facilities.
Both Congressman Keating and Congressman Edward Markey questioned the safety of the company's decision last week--citing safety concerns. In a letter to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) dated June 8, Markey and Keating wrote, "While Entergy management may understand the theoretical manner in which a nuclear power plant operates, theory is rarely a substitute for the sort of practical, hands-on experience the locked-out workers possess."
In a series of questions aimed at gauging the plant's safety in the hands of management, the Congressmen asked if the NRC could "truly ensure that the residents of Massachusetts living near the plant are as safe in the event of an emergency today as they were when the Union workers were operating the plant earlier this week?"
Regarding the continued lock-out, Congressman Keating issued the following statement today:
There are two central issues of which we cannot lose sight. First, this lock-out is putting an unnecessary strain on our local families at a time when they can least afford it. Pilgrim’s hard-working employees, some of whom have worked there for years, depend on their paychecks, and without a regular income, they are struggling with numerous challenges such as trying to find temporary work to pay the bills. Second, these individuals are experts in a highly specialized field. They are the men and women we need operating this plant. It is imperative they are reinstalled in their jobs and I strongly urge Entery to come back to the table immediately to negotiate their contracts.
Entergy is already in the cross-hairs of several local groups opposed to the company's recent 20-year re-licensing. Several non-profit organizations, and many citizens and local officials in Plymouth and Cape Cod opposed the re-licensing of the facility that has been in operation for the past 40-years. Pilgrim, which came online in 1972, is a 680-megawatt boiling water reactor, identical in design to Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.