Workers rejected a new contract with Entergy Corp. on Wednesday, continuing a labor dispute at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant.
The Utility Workers Union of America voted 89 in favor of the new contract to 137 opposed.
After midnight on Tuesday morning, a union bargaining team agreed to the new contract, but when the leaders brought it to the rank-and-file for a vote, it was defeated with about 65 percent of the workers voting against it.
The union authorized a strike on May 4 but had not gone on strike from the Plymouth nuclear plant. After negotiations broke down on Tuesday, June 5, Entergy started escorting workers from the plant, locking them out as managers filled in along with workers from other plants owned by the Louisiana-based energy company.
The new offer to workers included a hike in health insurance costs, according to a source.
Entergy Manager of Government Affairs Jack Alexander did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“The hardworking men and women who keep Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant operating profitably and safely have spoken loud and clear: They will not accept cuts to their pay or healthcare from a company making record profits and paying executives in the tens of millions,” said Local 369 President Dan Hurley. “We urge Entergy to return to the bargaining table so that we can realistically address the very real concerns of our members.”
On Tuesday morning, Hurley said that following lengthy talks “we have finally emerged with an agreement that has important protections for the hardworking men and women who safely operate this 40-year-old nuclear power plant on a daily basis.” He thanked elected officials and other unions for their support, saying it was “so critical in reaching this agreement.”
A rally at the State House for the workers and expected to draw top state elected officials was cancelled Tuesday in light of the deal reached between Entergy and union leaders.