AMID CLAIMS THAT CAPITAL REGION UNION JOBS ARE BEING RIPPED AWAY, SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND, TONKO CALL ON DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY TO INVESTIGATE AND PROTECT LOCAL JOBS AT KNOLLS ATOMIC POWER LABORATORY IN NISKAYUNA
Reps Express Support For Local Union Workers Claiming Fluor Marine Propulsion Is Inappropriately Moving Jobs From New York to Non-Union Facility In Pennsylvania – Resulting In Potentially Significant Loss Of Union Jobs At Knolls
Union Says Fluor Marine Propulsion Is Hurting New York Workforce By Violating Local 147 Contract And Undermining President Biden’s Pro-Union Directive
Schumer, Gillibrand, Tonko: FMP Must Reverse Course And Keep Family-Wage Jobs & This Critical Work Right Here in The Capital Region
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko today sent a letter to Secretary Jennifer Granholm urging the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to address the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) union Local 147 claim that Fluor Marine Propulsion (FMP) is inappropriately moving work performed by Local 147 members out of New York’s Capital Region.
“Fluor Marine Propulsion’s ill-founded decision to rip work away from Local 147 members and send it out to a non-union facility in another state is absolutely unacceptable,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “As a fully federally-funded government contractor, FMP has no excuse for moving these jobs and undermining Local 147. KAPL has a long history in New York’s Capital Region and has played an important role in the DOD and DOE’s work on naval propulsion and nuclear energy – President Jimmy Carter even worked at the laboratory as a young man while serving on temporary duty with the Naval Reactors Branch of the U.S. Atomic energy Commission. Protecting high-quality, family-wage New York jobs like these has always been a top priority of mine, and I will continue to work with IFPTE Local 147 until FMP reverses course and stops inappropriately removing jobs from the Capital Region.”
"Fluor Marine Propulsion's decision to take away work from Local 147 workers and move it to a non-union laboratory in Pennsylvania is a clear violation of its contract with the union," said Senator Gillibrand. "FMP is a 100% federally funded contractor, and this wrongheaded decision conflicts with President Biden's policies regarding protections for union-represented work. I urge FMP to rescind this ill-advised move and to work with Local 147 to maintain this important workforce in the Capital Region."
“The Local 147 and other unions have a long, proud history of delivering good, quality jobs for hard working folks across our Capital Region,” Congressman Tonko said. “The unjust action taken by FMP to pull work away from the IFPTE union and send them to non-union workers out of the state is in blatant defiance of their contact with Local 147. What’s more, this move flies in the face of the essential work of Local 147 and tears quality jobs away from our community. We urge the DOE to intervene and uphold President Biden’s long-championed efforts to support our unions. I stand with Local 147, and promise to continue working to strengthen our unions and ensure they are empowered to make workplaces, better, safer, and more just.”
"IFPTE thanks Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Congressman Tonko for holding Fluor accountable for unjustly moving union represented jobs at KAPL to Bettis where this work is performed by non-represented workers,” said IFPTE International President Matt Biggs. “Not only is this a violation of the Local 147 contract, it violates the spirit and directive of President Biden's worker empowerment taskforce, which calls for proper designation of union represented work. We applaud and welcome the strong support of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and Representative Tonko in demanding that Fluor, a federal government contractor, reverse course immediately."
The lawmakers explained that IFPTE Local 147 represents workers employed at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL), which is contracted by FMP to perform key work on the nation’s nuclear naval fleet. The union has a contract with KAPL that certain tasks will be performed by their members, and they allege that FMP is quietly moving that work from the union facility in Niskayuna, New York, to the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory – a non-union facility – in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. Prior to FMP’s choice to move union jobs out of the Capital Region, IFTPE Local 147 expected to represent over 80 union workers at KAPL. However, now that the contractor is moving this critical work into Pennsylvania, IFTPE says that there are 35 to 40 non-represented employees assigned to work that is covered by the collective bargaining recognition, resulting in a significant decrease of Local 147 jobs at Knolls.
By sending this work to another state, FMP is not only violating their Local 147 contract, according to the union, but the contractor is also going against President Biden’s Worker Empowerment Taskforce’s recommendations that federal agencies, and federal contractors, work to ensure that union represented work is not improperly moved from bargaining unit represented workers to non-represented workers. While FMP is not a federal entity, it is a 100% federally-funded contractor, putting their actions in direct opposition to the spirit of the Taskforce’s recommendations and the president’s directive. Just one month ago, KAPL informed the union that FMP would be moving even more bargaining unit work from Local 147 members to non-unionized workers, which IFPTE believes will cause a reduction of up to 7 additional union jobs in Niskayuna.
This issue comes at a time when FMP’s contract with the DOE is up for renewal this September at a cost of over $17 billion. The representatives explained that for multiple years, they have fought to fully fund this program within both the Department of Energy and Department of Defense budgets, and that this decision was a conscious choice to ensure that KAPL had sufficient federal government funding to continue their important work and maintain their workforce. Therefore, in addition to returning critical jobs to KAPL, Schumer, Gillibrand, and Tonko are also calling on the DOE to work with FMP in the renewal process to ensure that the company maintains their fully federally funded workforce in New York going forward.
A copy of Schumer, Gillibrand, and Tonko’s letter to the DOE appears below:
Dear Secretary Granholm,
We are writing regarding a matter that has been brought to our attention by the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 147, representing workers employed by Fluor Marine Propulsion (FMP) which operated the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL) in Niskayuna and West Milton, New York. It is our understanding that KAPL is inappropriately moving work that is normally performed by Local 147 represented union members from New York to the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania.
It is our understanding that Local 147 has attempted on several occasions to remedy this situation with KAPL, dating as far back as April 11, 2022 when the union informed management that the work was being improperly assigned to non-bargaining unit workers at Bettis. More recently, on January 11, 2023, KAPL informed the union that the company (FMP) would be moving even more bargaining unit work from Local 147 members to non-unionized workers. The company claims the movement of the work is a result of a new approach of work assignments called, “Design Services Enterprise” in which FMP and all of the Naval Nuclear Laboratories such as KAPL and Bettis are viewed as one company. This contention is despite the fact that Local 147’s contract recognizes that design modeling, drafting, graphical design, animation work and other engineering support work is to be performed by bargaining unit members.
FMP’s decision to move this work not only violates the Local 147 contract, it also stands contrary to President Biden’s Worker Empowerment Taskforce’s recommendations that federal agencies, and federal contractors, work to ensure that union represented work is not improperly moved from bargaining unit represented workers to non-represented workers. The President, as you know, has embraced Taskforce’s recommendations. Yet, FMP, a 100% federally funded contractor, continues to violate the spirit of the Taskforce’s recommendations and the President’s directive.
This issue also comes at a time when FMP’s contract with the DOE is up for renewal in September of this year at a cost of upwards of $17 billion ($8.5 billion over the last five years, plus another $8.5 billion over the second five years). And this comes after multiple years where we have fought to defend and fully fund this program within the Department of Energy and Department of Defense budgets. While there is little doubt that the dedicated workers at KAPL, including those represented by IFPTE Local 147, perform critically important work for the taxpaying public, we do remain concerned that this contractor has not only decided to unilaterally and without much oversight move work out of New York.
Therefore, we urge you to engage with FMP and reverse course, returning this work to KAPL. We also request that DOE work with FMP in the renewal process to ensure that the company will maintain this fully federally funded workforce in New York going forward.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my staff with any questions you may have.