A strike by security workers at Savannah River Site has ended, according to a news release from the security contractor, Centerra-SRS.
The union, United Professional Pro-Force of Savannah River, Local 125, voted to ratify a contract worked out with the involvement of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
Some workers will be back on the job Tuesday, Union President Mathias Miller said.
Workers got a concession on employee insurance premiums, which will not increase by percentage for the first year of the new contract, according to an internal union memo obtained by The Augusta Chronicle.
Centerra spokesman Rob Davis said premiums could still increase but employees would not be asked to pay a higher percentage in the first year.
The contract will be in effect for 5½ years, starting this month and ending in 2022. The company will not attempt to modify the contract during that term, according to the union memo.
That was a big issue for workers, Miller said.
However, language remains in the contract that would allow changes for situations that might arise and are not covered already by the agreement, Miller said.
“The membership came with major concerns that we had,” he said. “Once the company and union sat down together it came to a pretty quick resolution.
Union members voted on the contract over the weekend, according to the memo. The vote was 148-78, said George Parks, a union steward who came under fire for supporting the previous proposed contract, which he helped to negotiate, even after members rejected it. Parks said the total means 74 members did not vote.
He still faces disciplinary action from the union’s executive board, which has voted to charge him with conduct unbecoming a union official, Parks said. Miller made the request to the board, he said.
The union can fire him from his steward position, but it can’t threaten his job, Parks said.
“A lot of people are saying, ‘Well, he was right.’ Everything I said came true,” Parks said.
Other provisions in the contract address discipline procedures, the holiday pay night differential and when pay raises take effect each year — May 1.
The cost of the contract remained the same as the previous version, meaning the new one won’t cost taxpayers any more than the earlier, rejected one, according to a statement from Centerra.
“They (negotiators) just moved money around,” Parks said.
Centerra was contacted by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service with a request to meet with Union representatives during the week of Oct. 2, according to the company’s statement.
“In the initial session, the union representatives stated that they wanted to focus on four areas, including the length of the contract, computation of holiday pay, discipline, and health insurance,” the statement said. “The company advised the union that any changes would have to be cost neutral and would have to be implemented in a way that would not increase the cost of the contract to the government.”
Miller said neither side got everything they wanted, which is typical of a negotiated settlement.
“I’m just glad to see the guys going back to work,” he said.