HAMTC, Hanford contractors reach tentative deal

By Annette Cary, Tri-City HeraldSeptember 24, 2013 

The Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council is recommending that members approve the latest collective bargaining agreement proposal after 20 months of contract negotiations.

A ratification vote has been set for Oct. 9 at the Richland Labor Temple.

The Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council, or HAMTC, negotiations committee believes it has done the "very best that we could do given the current state of affairs," said President Dave Molnaa in a letter sent to members Tuesday.

HAMTC is an umbrella organization for 15 of the unions performing work at the Hanford nuclear reservation.

The proposal represents the best contract that will be offered, though it is not the "fair settlement" that had been sought, Molnaa said.

"There is simply nothing more that can be done to enforce our position other than the ultimate battle -- to conduct a strike," he said. "However, it is very likely that such action would prove to be unsuccessful and would not change the current circumstances at all."

In fact, a strike might lead to a deterioration of the offer, he said.

HAMTC workers overwhelmingly rejected the previous proposal in a vote July 16.

The council determined the primary reason for the failed ratification vote was changes to the pension program, said a memo sent by CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. managers Tuesday. CH2M Hill led negotiations for Hanford environmental cleanup contractors.

The proposal voted on in July would have reduced pension payments to workers after retirement. Workers also were unhappy with proposed wages and benefits, the memo said.

The revised collective bargaining agreement proposal partially addresses those issues, according to the CH2M Hill memo.

The current proposal will increase wage rates 2 percent for each of the next three years. Full-time workers each would receive a one-time payment of $1,000 if the contract is ratified by Oct. 11.

Employees with at least 10 years of participation in the Hanford pension plan would see no change to their pension benefits. However, workers with fewer years in the program would have their benefits reduced. New hires would not be eligible for the pension program, but could participate in a 401(k) plan.

A Hanford-wide seniority program and separation pay would be maintained under the collective bargaining agreement proposal.

The proposed contract would be for three years with a possible two-year extension.

Chief stewards and business agents of individual unions can provide members with more details, according to Molnaa's letter.

An information meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Richland Labor Temple. Meetings will be held at Hanford next week.

-- Annette Cary: 582-1533; acary@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @HanfordNews

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service