UPDATE: Union Security Workers Locked Out of Their Jobs at Nuclear Power Plant

UPDATE: Union Security Workers Locked Out of Their Jobs at Nuclear Power Plant Click to Enlarge Photo: Flickr user Nuclear Regulatory Commission [(Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)]

UPDATE: (Posted 8/31 at 6:44 p.m.)

(KNSI) - Union workers with the United Security Professionals Local 2 are locked out of their jobs starting at midnight Saturday night/Sunday morning.

Union President Joshua Haider tells KNSI they were allowed to clock in for their shift at 5:30 p.m. but they will be locked out starting at midnight.

Haider says there were some last minute proposals sent to G4S.

Haider says they sent an "Either or" proposal.

Option A was the workers would take the new Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, but with raises to cancel out the insurance loss.

G4S wants to switch to the new BCBS package and cut their contributions by half, which is around $10 thousand dollars for each worker every year.

Option B was workers keeping the current insurance coverage but with less of a raise.

Haider says G4S called their proposals unreasonable.

No further talks are scheduled.

Replacement workers will be brought in.

KNSI has reached out to G4S for comment but so far the company has not responded.


ORIGINAL STORY (Posted 8/28)

(KNSI) - Workers with the United Security Professionals Local 2 Union say G4S security solutions company told them they have reached an impasse in contract negotiations with the union and have no interest in coming back to the bargaining table.

The main sticking point is a change to their health benefits package. The union says they want to work out an agreement, but according to workers there, G4S is refusing to come back to the table.

A source with the union told KNSI that when G4S took over in the spring of 2018, the company allegedly told union members both verbally and in writing they would not make any changes to their health insurance.

This source said when the two sides went to the bargaining table, health insurance was the first thing G4S mentioned they were going to change. The source says G4S told them to make up for the cost changes, they were willing to give union members a half a percent over the cost of living raise, but the union says it's not about the money.

We are told G4S is looking to switch the union over to Blue Cross Blue Shield and workers are very worried about the dispute between Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Minnesota Hospital Association.

The MHA has asked Attorney General Keith Ellison to investigate BCBS for "denying certain medically necessary services its enrollees receive at hospitals even though the hospital and providers are in-network. The association also asked the state officials to examine dramatic increases in services requiring prior authorization that is delaying patient care and denying payments for medically necessary services." The release goes on to say, "BCBS has dramatically increased the number of services it will not cover or pay for without a prior authorization before patients can receive necessary medical treatment, according to MHA. These requirements cause physicians and patient advocates to spend countless hours navigating online forms and waiting on hold for BCBS's subcontractors to respond to their calls. Then, it can take days or as much as two weeks for BCBS to authorize the service the patient's doctor ordered. These delays and burdensome bureaucratic gauntlets interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and cause patients and their families to suffer and worry longer than necessary."

Workers say with BCBS denying or delaying coverage for medically necessary care, they and their families are being put at risk.

Union workers say if no deal is reached, G4S will lock them out and not allow them to report for work Saturday.

We are being told the night shift begins Saturday at 5:30 p.m., and there are rumors G4S will not allow them to clock in. At that point, sources say they will picket. If they are allowed to clock in, they will be locked out at midnight.

The workers at the plant represent the roughly 25 highly trained individuals who supply heavy armed security to the Monticello Nuclear Power Plant. They are trained in anti-terrorism tactics, and they worry the plant will be vulnerable.

Replacement workers are set to be in place. Some of the workers are from the Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant near Red Wing. Others, sources say are from out of state.

Workers say they are very concerned that with fewer people providing security, and those who are in place not being familiar with their training, tactics, security plan and layout of the plant, employees in other areas of the plant and those in the surrounding communities are being put at serious risk.

The union has asked for G4S to come back to the bargaining table, but they are refusing and no more talks are scheduled before Saturday.

We have contacted G4S for comment.