Welcome to AtomWatch - world nuclear power news and analysis

This blog is aimed at tracing the world news related to nuclear power development internationally and in particular countries. Being an independent resource, we accept all kinds of opinions, positions and comments, and welcome you to discuss the posts and tell us what you think.

Monday, December 15, 2008

PG&E workers picket outside Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant

[While I have heard of Canadian engineers being in unions and some utilities in the US having unionized engineers, this is the first time I heard of such unions protesting. Prior to the credit crunch, the projections showed increased pressure on wages due to the new plant efforts and retirements.]


Posted: Dec 12, 2008 06:22 PM EST
Reported by: Stacy Daniel

Employees at Diablo Canyon picket outside the nuclear power plant. They are trying to call attention to what they say are unsafe working conditions.

Nuclear engineers claim the plant is putting profits before safety. They say that employees are not paid enough and because of that, it makes retaining qualified workers difficult.

Senior Consulting Engineer Cory Pfau said, "Their heart is really in it as you can see. We're out here to make sure management knows that. We are united and we're going to fight for what's right and what's fair."

Their gripe: PG&E is putting profits before safety. Workers said the plant is doing nothing to attract new engineers.

As aging employees prepare to retire, more positions are outsourced. Employees said that compromises the safety of not only the employees at Diablo Canyon, but also the people who live close to the nuclear power plant.

Rob Martin is a Senior Electrical Engineer. He said, "Nuclear power is a very complicated industry and so we need the very best engineers to come here and keep this the best power plant in the country. I think San Luis [Obispo] County deserves that, and I think they expect that."

A representative for PG&E told Action News safety is the plant's number one priority.

PG&E spokesperson Emily Christensen said, "PG&E pays very competitive wages and it gives us the ability to attract some of the most talented highly skilled professionals, and we do believe that our employees here at Diablo Canyon are among some of the best in the industry - and their salaries, frankly, do reflect that."

Employees said if that were true they wouldn't be out here demanding change. Organizers said picketing was a last resort, but they felt it was neccessary to call attention to their grievances.

This is the first organized picket at the power plant since the engineers unionized eight months ago. Organizers said more will follow.

No comments: