Amarillo, TX - Area Congressman Mac Thornberry is now taking his concerns about Pantex's ongoing strike and other facility issues to the Department of Energy.
He recently sent a letter to DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz talking about the strike and what he calls the "deplorable" state of Pantex's infrastructure.
Thornberry originally said he was not going to get involved in the Pantex strike, but his recent letter to the DOE asked the department to review the benefits policy impacting the workers who have now been striking for 32 days as of Tuesday.
DOE Order 350.1 requires contractors like Consolidated Nuclear Security to offer benefits comparable to other similar companies in the area, but workers say no other company handles nuclear weapons.
"They talk about getting comparables in the area but there are no comparables," said Pantex striker Roger Turner. "I don't know of anyone in the country that does what we do and certainly not around this area."
Workers like Turner are hopeful Thornberry's letter will have a positive impact. "I'm a little disappointed it has taken this long for both parties to come to some kind of agreement," said Turner. "I think the employees are ready to go back to work. We really didn't want to leave work, but we felt like we were forced to because of the deep cuts being made to the people."
Thornberry also asked the DOE to engage in the budget process for next year so upgrades at Pantex can be at the forefront of the conversation.
He called the Pantex lab that handles high explosives "decrepit" and "inefficient" and said it needs to be upgraded.
To read Thornberry's letter to the DOE, click here.
Negotiations between CNS and the Metal Trades Council are expected to reconvene later this week with the continued help from federal mediators.