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Oct 2, 2012 9:11 AM by AP/CS

Entergy replaces union workers after talks fail

PORT GIBSON, Miss. (AP) - Entergy Nuclear has locked out union security workers at its nuclear plant near Port Gibson, Miss., after contract negotiations with the United Government Security Officers of America Local 36 failed.

The current contract with plant security officers expired at midnight Sunday.

Mike Balduzzi, Entergy Nuclear's senior vice president of nuclear technical services, said in a statement that Entergy Nuclear implemented a contingency staffing plan at Grand Gulf Nuclear Station to ensure a professional security force remained in place after the expiration of the current contract.

"Since those employees would have been working without a contract, they would reserve the right to leave their posts and strike at any time - a situation that is unacceptable at an Entergy Nuclear plant," Balduzzi said.

"The health and safety of the public is foremost among our obligations, and this measure will ensure we meet the rigorous standards required for securing, operating and maintaining our nuclear power plant."

Balduzzi says experienced individuals at Grand Gulf and from other Entergy nuclear plants and professional security firms will be filling those positions.

Union officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

In June, union workers at the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth, Mass., rejected a tentative contract with Entergy. The dispute has become contentious with Entergy locking out union workers and the union filing complaints with the National Labor Relations Board. Entergy implemented an alternative staffing plan.

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