L.U. 300 (govt,i,mt&u), MONTPELIER, VT—Despite a vote by the Vermont Senate to close the state’s only nuclear power plant, a coalition of construction unions maintain their support for Vermont Yankee, a unionized nuclear power facility whose license is up for renewal in 2012.
The Vermont Building and Construction Trades Council is a partnership of 15 labor unions that represent several thousand workers—many of whom work at Vermont Yankee as both year-round employees and subcontractors. A founding affiliate of the council, IBEW Local 300 represents approximately 200 permanent, full-time Vermont Yankee employees. In addition, IBEW electricians and apprentices have logged thousands of hours working for subcontractors at the plant. A typical refueling outage temporarily employs 1,100 trade workers.
“Closing Vermont Yankee will effectively squash hundreds of union jobs that pay wages far exceeding the norm for our area,” said IBEW Local 300 Pres. George Clain. “Eliminating these careers, along with the almost certain rise of statewide electricity rates if Vermont Yankee exits our energy portfolio, is not in the best interests of working Vermonters. Nor is it responsible to chase off an employer that annually pumps millions in payroll, state and local taxes, as well as $100 million in economic activity into the coffers.”
Vermont Yankee, a 650-megawatt power plant, employs 650 people and provides more than one-third of the state’s electricity at the lowest costs in New England. Vermont Yankee personnel get intensive, year-round training—a key factor in recently receiving a Green Mountain Voluntary Protection Program STAR flag from the Vermont Department of Labor for exemplary commitment to workplace safety.
“Given our turbulent economy, Vermont is in need of quality jobs and access to reasonably priced, low-carbon, domestically-produced energy. Vermont Yankee provides both,” said Clain. “Renewable power sources and efficiency should definitely be in the mix and will create jobs, but cannot reasonably be expected to replace Vermont Yankee in the near term. Now is not the time to gamble with so many livelihoods.”
Matthew Lash, P.S.
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