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Callaway nuclear plant union warns of possible strike

Ameren Missouri's Callaway Nuclear plant
(Ameren Missouri)
Ameren Missouri's Callaway Nuclear plant

Security guards at the Callaway nuclear power plant near Fulton warn they could go on strike if they don’t reach a contract agreement with Ameren Missouri.

The United Government Security Officers of America Local 11 represents 91 security officers at Missouri’s only nuclear power plant. They’ve been on a month-to-month contract since rejecting an agreement with Ameren Missouri in July.

The union’s lead negotiator, Jim Natale, said members are concerned with their working conditions and health coverage. He said negotiations with the utility are expected to resume, but a strike hasn’t been ruled out if those talks don’t lead to a resolution.

"It could be a definite possibility if things continue the way that they are," Natale said.

The union’s leadership had reached an agreement with Ameren Missouri on July 2. Before Local 11 members voted, Natale said they heard rumors their health care coverage could change during the course of the contract.

"The membership found out through the grapevine, from other people at the plant and other contacts that the company planned to make changes to the health care which they previously had not stated," he said.

The union later voted to reject the agreement by 87.5 percent.

Ameren’s John Neudecker, HR Services and Employee Relations Services, said in a statement that the utility continued to negotiation with the union after its leadership "failed to obtain a positive ratification" of the previous agreement. He said that offer had since been modified and was "fair and equitable."

The utility also has a contingency plan in place for security services if Local 11 called for a strike.

"While Ameren Missouri does not anticipate a work stoppage, the Callaway Energy Center is prepared to implement its contingency plan, remain operational and secure in the event of any labor dispute," Neudecker said.

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Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.