Owner says strike wouldn't stop NY nuke plant

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 18, 2014 at 2:11 am •  Published: January 18, 2014

RYE BROOK, N.Y. (AP) — The owner of the Indian Point nuclear power plant said Friday that managers will keep the plant running even if its largest union goes on strike or is locked out.

But the union said that using substitutes to run two reactors in the New York suburbs would be "a wild gamble."

The two sides continued talking with federal mediators in a hotel conference room about 20 miles from the plant into the early morning Saturday. The union's contract was to expire at midnight Friday, but that deadline was suspended indefinitely as talks continued.

John Melia, spokesman for Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America, said early Saturday morning that there was movement in the talks and that the deadline would be extended as long as talks continue.

"The strike clock is on hold. They're deep in talks," Melia said. "As these things go, nobody will invest this time and effort and go deep into the morning" without making progress.

Melia had said that talks bogged down Thursday night after plant owner Entergy Nuclear made an "insulting and regressive" offer on wages and benefits.

He said the union's 395 members, including control room workers, radiation safety workers and maintenance workers, hoped to avoid a strike.

"Strikes are bad, but it's the tool we have," he said.

He said members' hourly wages range from $40 to $60.

Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi would not characterize management's latest offer. He said, "We're working hard to reach an agreement and will continue to do so today."

In the past, labor talks at Indian Point have commonly gone past the deadline before ending with an agreement. The last strike there was in 1983, when the two reactors were separately owned and workers at Indian Point 2 walked out on Con Edison for nine weeks. The plant remained open.