Nuke plant guards vote on a union today

Security guards at the South Texas Project nuclear power plant near Bay City will vote today on whether to change unions or go without representation.

A security checkpoint at the South Texas Project (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan).

The security force, which is employed by Wackenhut, has been represented by Security, Police, Fire Professionals of America in the past. That group started proceedings to stop representing the approximately 90 guards at the facility in early February, however, after contract negotiations with Wackenhut reached an impasse.
Another union, the United Government Security Officers of America petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to represent the guards. The original union later petitioned to be added to the ballot, while a third union, the National Union of Protective Services Association, is also on the ballot.
There have been some issues raised by guards at the plant in the past, and more recently, about security at the nation’s nuclear plants in general.
Among the local concerns: allegations that security guards failed to search a firetruck that left and re-entered the plant weekly as part of a drill; that a convicted felon was once allowed into the plant; that the plant’s maintenance staff has easy access to firearms; and that some surveillance cameras and radio equipment did not work.
As South Texas Project Vice President Ed Halpin told the Chronicle last year:
“We had some teamwork issues where people got frustrated and things were not getting resolved,” Halpin said. “As a senior management team, there are things we should have done better.”
The NLRB said one of its officials will conduct the election at the plant in two rounds today, one that ran from about 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. and another from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The results will be counted onsite tonight.