Striking workers return to Pantex

Striking workers return to Pantex

Amarillo, TX - Pantex welcomed back nearly 1,200 employees Monday after a five week strike, but not all workers are happy with the latest labor agreement.

For the past 37 days, strikers have lined Highway 60 outside Pantex, but those strikers are now putting down their signs and heading back to work.

On Sunday, members of the Metal Trades Council voted to approve a new labor contract from Consolidated Nuclear Security, the operator of Pantex. Both parties had been at the bargaining table for the past two weeks hammering out a contract that could appease both sides.

Union reps said they won when it came to maintaining health benefits, but lost the battle for new hires. "It's a good package, however, it really didn't meet the needs of all our members and we realize that," said James Price with the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers.

The labor contract made cuts to pensions and retired medical pay for new hires, which is why workers like Brett Fisher voted against it. "This was a real tough contract because it not only involved my job, but it really involved the future of future Pantexans to come," said Fisher.

Fisher said Pantex is a family and they want the best for those who work there now and those who are still to come. "We want them to have the same opportunities and benefits that we have and losing these benefits is really a concern."

CNS said it is pleased with the labor agreement and said Pantex is now focused on moving forward to safely resume full plant maintenance and operations.

The labor contract is good until 2019.