No furloughs for vit plant workers during July

By The Tri-City HeraldMay 17, 2013 

Workers at the Hanford vitrification plant will not be furloughed for a week in July, they were told Friday.

They were warned last month that Bechtel National might need to shut down the project for two weeks this summer because of a lack of money for work that is ready to be done.

This week, congressional committees approved a Department of Energy request for reprogramming, or moving money already budgeted for this year among DOE sites and projects.

The changes include moving $115 million budgeted for the Pretreatment Facility at the plant to work at the plant's other buildings. Construction is on hold at the Pretreatment Facility until technical issues are resolved.

The reprogramming request still has to go through administrative channels, moving from the Office of Management and Budget to the Department of Energy for implementation. After Bechtel receives direction from DOE, it will complete its work plan for fiscal 2013, which ends Sept. 30, and turn its attention to fiscal 2014, said Frank Russo, Bechtel project director, in a memo to employees.

Bechtel has not made a decision on the second week of furlough, which has been considered for the week before Labor Day to give employees the maximum amount of days off in a row.

The contractor will continue to reduce travel and overtime to minimum levels and review open positions on a case-by-case basis.

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