Nuclear Security Officers have been picketing this week outside Xcel Energy’s nuclear power plant in Monticello in an ongoing labor dispute that started on August 31, 2019.
The 23 union employees work for G4S, a London-based company under contract with Xcel to provide security for the plant.
G4S locked the workers out after their contract expired and they rejected a proposed new contract. The union said the company wants to change the employees’ health plan, which it said would result in higher costs and less coverage for workers.
Josh Haider, president of United Security Professionals Local 2, the union that represents shift leaders or supervisors, said union we’re getting a ton of union support from all over the state, which is great,” Haider said.
After this show of support by these labor unions, the community and local representatives the company G4S finally raised the white flag in defeat and withdrew its lockout and caved in to the United Security Professionals Local 2 demands not to take away their healthcare.
Locked out union nuclear security officers at the Monticello Nuclear Power Plant have reached a deal with security solutions company G4S.
At issue was a change in their health insurance plan.
Joshua Haider, President of the United Security Professionals Local 2 says when G4S took over from Securitas in 2018, G4S told them both verbally and in writing they wouldn’t change their health plan, but Haider says that was the first thing they mentioned when they sat down at the bargaining table in March.
A last ditch effort was made by the union before the lockout with an “either or” proposal. Option A was allowing the workers to take the new Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, but with raises to cancel out the insurance contribution loss. Option B was workers keeping the current insurance coverage but with less of a raise. Haider says G4S called their proposal unreasonable.
Haider says the new deal with G4S allows them to keep their health insurance plan and also offered them a 2.5% cost of living raise. G4S will also be increasing their contributions to employee 401K plans and will be giving each worker a thousand dollars to cover expenses for the days they were out on the picket line.
Union sources say G4S contacted them around midnight to say they would agree to their requests, adding that they are very appreciative of G4S for coming to an agreement, quickly ending the lockout.
Randy Sand has been working at the power plant since 1979. He says this was a stressful time for them.
It becomes stressful for us and our families but what do you do. You press on and rely on the strength of our members and the community and hope things will get resolved.
At a press conference this morning Haider says, “We do look forward at this time to cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship with G4S, and by extension their client Xcel. We are ready to roll up our sleeves and get back to work.”
Haider said the union never had an issue with Xcel Energy, who operates the plant.
G4S was looking to switch the union over to Blue Cross Blue Shield and workers say they were very worried about the dispute between Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Minnesota Hospital Association. Workers also say that the package was inferior to what they have now, and would have cost significantly more because G4S said they were also going to cut their contributions to their health insurance costs. That equaled out to about $10 thousand per year per worker.
Employees were locked out of their jobs starting at 12:01 a.m. September 1st. Replacement workers were brought in, but Haider says they are not familiar with emergency procedures and evacuation protocol, putting the plant and the surrounding communities at risk.
In an emailed statement, G4S says, “G4S negotiated a tentative collective bargaining agreement with United Security Professionals Local 2 last night and hopes to have a final agreement in place in the next two weeks. As a result, Local 2 lieutenants will resume their previous duties at the Monticello plant on Monday with contingency officers remaining on duty throughout the weekend. G4S is pleased this matter has been resolved and looks forward to receiving the team back at their regular posts where they will continue to provide excellent security services to the customer.”
The press conference above was attended by the following local politicians who saw a need to get involved in this lockout.
Senator Bruce D. Anderson (29, R) Bruce Douglas Anderson is an American politician and member of the Minnesota Senate. A member of the Republican Party of Minnesota, he represents District 29, which includes portions of Hennepin and Wright counties in central Minnesota.
Appearing at the press conference was Marion O’Neill a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. A member of the Republican Party of Minnesota, she represents District 29B in central Minnesota.
Shane Mekeland is an American politician and member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. A member of the Republican Party of Minnesota, he represents District 15B in central Minnesota.
Xcel Energy owns and operates two nuclear power plants: Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant near Monticello, MN, and Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant near Red Wing, MN. These plants produce nearly 30 percent of the electricity we provide to customers in the Upper Midwest.
Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894.
While we celebrate Labor Day 2019, Nuclear Security lieutenants with the United Security Professionals Local 2 Union working at Xcel Energy Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant have been locked out of their jobs as of Midnight on August 31st.
The main sticking point is a change to their health benefits package. The union says they want to work out an agreement, but according to workers there, G4S is refusing to come back to the table.
Union President Joshua Haider stated they were allowed to clock in for their shift at 5:30 p.m. but they will be locked out starting at midnight.
The unions say’s they sent G4S a last minute Either or” proposal which included.
Option A was the nuclear officers would take the new Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, but with raises to cancel out the insurance loss.
G4S wants to switch to the new Blue Cross Blue Shield package and cut their contributions by half, which is around $10 thousand dollars for each worker every year.
Option B was nuclear officers keeping the current insurance coverage but with less of a raise.
Haider says G4S called their proposals unreasonable and rejected both proposals.
A source with the union stated that when G4S took over in the spring of 2018, the company allegedly told union members both verbally and in writing they would not make any changes to their health insurance.
This source said when the two sides went to the bargaining table, health insurance was the first thing G4S mentioned they were going to change. The source says G4S told them to make up for the cost changes, they were willing to give union members a half a percent over the cost of living raise, but the union says it’s not about the money.
We are told G4S is looking to switch the union over to Blue Cross Blue Shield and workers are very worried about the dispute between Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Minnesota Hospital Association.
Workers say with BCBS denying or delaying coverage for medically necessary care, they and their families are being put at risk.
United Security Professionals Local 2 is made up of roughly 25 highly trained Nuclear Security lieutenants who supply heavy armed security to the Monticello Nuclear Power Plant. They are trained in anti-terrorism tactics, and they worry the plant will be vulnerable.
NUNSO, will do whatever we have to do to assist our brothers and sisters in this fight noted Maritas.
NUNSO Organizing Director is planning to fly to Monticello, MN tomorrow to help and assist United Security Professionals Local 2 members and their families who are on the picket line. Maritas has also offered assistance in trying to mediate an end to this lockout, if G4S is willing to come back to the table and negotiate in good faith.
The Union say’s they are very concerned that with fewer people providing security, and those who are in place not being familiar with their training, tactics, security plan and layout of the plant, employees in other areas of the plant and those in the surrounding communities are being put at serious risk.
The union has asked for G4S to come back to the bargaining table, but they are refusing, and no more talks are scheduled.
UPDATE: UNION SECURITY WORKERS LOCKED OUT OF THEIR JOBS AT NUCLEAR POWER PLANT
KNSI) – Workers with the United Security Professionals Local 2 Union say G4S security solutions company told them they have reached an impasse in contract negotiations with the union and have no interest in coming back to the bargaining table. The main sticking point is a change to their health benefits package. The union says they want to work out an agreement, but according to workers there, G4S is refusing to come back to the table.
The security contractor at Xcel Energy’s Monticello nuclear power plant appears set to lock out some guards after a breakdown in contract negotiations.
The lockout would affect “lieutenants “ or “shift leaders,” whose contract expires at midnight Saturday, said Josh Haider, head of United Security Professionals Local 2. There are about 25 unionized lieutenants at the Monticello plant employed by G4S, a large global security firm.
G4S and Xcel have been training replacements for union guards over the past month, Haider said.