Morning Briefing - February 13, 2019
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February 13, 2019

Fluor-BWXT Voluntary Separations Fall Short at Portsmouth

By ExchangeMonitor

Fewer workers than Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth (FBP) hoped took advantage of a voluntary separation package offered for contractor personnel at the Energy Department’s Portsmouth Site in Ohio.

After offering the package in December for up to 75 employees at the former gaseous diffusion plant, the decommissioning vendor said this week less than two-thirds of that number elected to depart by Jan. 31.

“The Self-Select Voluntary Separation Program has concluded for Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth and though we didn’t reach our goal of 75, we did get great participation. A total of 46 employees, a mix of both hourly and salaried personnel, took advantage of the program,” Fluor-BWXT spokesman Jack Williams said by email this week. “This will allow us to begin the process of aligning our workforce for the next phase of the D&D project here at Portsmouth which includes demolition and disposal of the X-326 building.” The X-326 building is a 1950s-era structure that enriched uranium for use in nuclear weapons.

Williams emphasized that there are no plans for a mandatory workforce reduction during fiscal 2019, which ends Oct. 1. The company has about 1,800 union and non-union workers, and is tweaking its workforce as its operations increasingly turn from facility deactivation toward demolition.

United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1-689 President John Knauff said last week about 36 of those who signed up for early separation were members of the union. Knauff has accused Fluor-BWXT of doing a voluntary reduction in force without following steps laid out in the Steelworkers contract.

Fluor-BWXT in March 2011 started working its 10-year contract, now worth $3. 7 billion, at Portsmouth. In September, the company received a second and final 30-month contract extension from DOE. The contract includes demolition and disposal of buildings, equipment, and ancillary facilities at Portsmouth.