UPDATE: Pantex employees reject proposed contracts - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Pantex employees reject proposed contracts

UPDATE: A work stoppage may be nearing for one of Amarillo's largest employers.

Today, members of Pantex labor unions voted to reject a contract offered by Consolidated Nuclear Systems.

Today's vote is the latest development in negotiations for a new deal that began in January.

Union members argue the proposed contract would have made drastic cuts to employee benefits -- including health insurance.

Despite today's vote, union leaders and Pantex's parent company feel an agreement can be reached before the current contract expires.

"Right now I imagine I'll be trying to get with the company and see if we are going to have anymore conversations," Clarence Rashada, Metal Trades Council President, said. "I feel real confident that the company and the council would get back and try to work our differences out."

CNS issued this statement moments after votes were counted : "We remain optimistic that we will reach a labor agreement. Pantex workers represented by the Metal Trades Council will continue work under the provisions of the current labor agreement which expires August 28. We will continue to maintain high standards of safety and security to protect our mission, workforce, neighboring communities, and environment."

The contract currently in place is set to expire on August 28.  Union members said they are willing to strike to keep existing employee benefits.

We will continue to follow this story and bring you information as it becomes available.

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Amarillo, TX - After area union members rallied outside of Pantex this week fighting for better health benefits, a vote was held today to determine whether a contract would be accepted or declined.

Union members claim Pantex's new parent company, Consolidated Nuclear Systems, will not provide adequate health care coverage.

A strike is encouraged among all unions instead of accepting the CNS contract. Union representatives said negotiation contracts will continue until the September deadline.

Also today, Pantex reviewed hundreds of resumes to fill vacant positions at the nuclear facility by hosting a job fair.

However, many current Pantex employees also, unexpectedly, attended. Union members said they wanted to "warn" prospective employees of what they said is an unfair benefits package. 

Union representatives said this rally was not a sanctioned event and these individuals were acting on their own behalf.

Today's rally coincided with a union-wide vote on a new contract offered by consolidated nuclear systems.

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