Pantex Security Guards on Strike

Pantex guards on strike are starting their first full night on the picket lines. NewsChannel 10's Marissa Bagg joins us live from their headquarters just outside the plant with the latest on their protest, Marissa.

The picketers you see behind me represent more than 500 others who are also on strike tonight. The message - they want better benefits than they've been offered.

Picketers line the road outside Pantex around the clock, to show they're not taking no for an answer.

"We're giving the company the message that we're united, we have a lot of support from inside the plant, we hope they'll look at this and come with a better proposal next time," says Gary McFall, a Pantex Security Guard for 10 years.

Because the latest proposal wasn't good enough. The union rejected it last night... and that's what prompted them to strike. They want better medical packages, pension programs and retirement options.

"They're concerned that they may not be able to grow old with this job or age with it, they want to be able to reach retirement age with this job like you would with a federal law enforcement scenario, or obtain some sort of federal benefits," says Robert Lynch, President of the Pantex Guard Union.

"Seems like we're trying to fight for what we already have, what we've already negotiated, we're willing to stay the course, we hope the company sees how solid we are out here," says John Lockhart, a Pantex Security Guard for 9 years.

Pantex says the plant is protected by highly qualified security personnel from other nuclear weapons complex sites for the time being. They say they are disappointed the guards union rejected their offer. But the guards are standing their ground.

"We're very interested in our insurances and retirement and we feel the company isn't coming across like we think they should," says McFall.

Union members hope federal mediators will get involved and help resolve the issues. This is the fourth strike at Pantex in almost 30 years. But it's the first time the guards have gone on strike.