The Portsmouth Daily Times received several calls from people concerned that they had been terminated by their current employer, Lata-Parallax, but had not received hiring notices from Fluor.
“They are going through that process now,” said Bobby Graff, President of Steelworkers Local 689. “There’s two separate groups out here — there’s grandfathered and non-grandfathered employees. So they did the grandfathered people first. That’s the ones who have been here a long time. They know what they are going to get. They’re in the defined benefit plan. So there weren’t many issues with them, so they tried to get them first to go to FBP next Tuesday. The others they are taking a little bit more time with, because there is a lot more of them. So they are processing all of them through. It is just taking longer than anticipated. Plus, we just got the final agreement on our contract done yesterday (Monday).”
Graff said that agreement has not been ratified, but he expected to bring it to the executive board Tuesday afternoon.
“They’ll have a job,” Graff said. “No doubt about it. Come the 29th of March, everybody will be employed as an FBP employee.”
A spokesman for FBP said he does not know why any steelworker who is supposed to be transitioning hasn’t been notified.
One worker who asked to remain anonymous said that while he has had his interview because he is grandfathered in, he knows of many more of the younger workers who have not been contacted at all.
“We’re taking all the steelworkers and we have contacted them all,” said Jerry Schneider with FBP. “So I’m not sure what that means.”
Graff said there are still two issues that need to be resolved between the union and the Department of Energy.
One, Graff said, is the moratorium on hiring federal workers.
“They (DOE) have tried to administer that on this contract,” Graff said. “I told them, we’re not federal workers — never have been. Never under the Civil Service Act or anything like that.”
The other issue deals with the term “grandfathered.”
“The Lata-Parallax employees who will be going to FPP next Tuesday, half of them are grandfathered employees,” Graff said. “They were supposed to be grandfathered as of April of 2005. We have 200-some employees at USEC that fit in the same category, and according to FBP, Fluor Babcock Portsmouth, these people will not be grandfathered.”
Graff said the union fought the issue six years ago when they first transitioned to Pro2Serve and Lata-Parallax. He said the workers were transfered over with grandfathered status.
“We had to go to court to fight for that for a year-and-a-half. That wasn’t fixed until 2007,” Graff said. “Now DOE is taking another interpretation, if you are a USEC employee you are not in grandfathered status. We won this six years ago and I don’t know why they are pressing this issue again.”