Locked-out guards picket Monticello nuclear plant

Monticello nuclear plant
Xcel Energy's Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant
Jennifer Simonson | MPR News file 2012

Updated: 8:56 a.m. September 6 | Posted: 2:10 p.m. September 5

Security workers have been picketing this week outside Xcel Energy’s nuclear power plant in Monticello in an ongoing labor dispute.

The 23 union employees work for G4S, a London-based company under contract with Xcel to provide security for the plant.

G4S locked the workers out after their contract expired and they rejected a proposed new contract. The union said the company wants to change the employees’ health plan, which it said would result in higher costs and less coverage for workers.

Josh Haider, president of United Security Professionals Local 2, the union that represents shift leaders or supervisors, said union workers are now demonstrating at both plant entrances.

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"We expanded our picketing and we're getting a ton of union support from all over the state, which is great,” Haider said.

G4S is providing replacement security personnel. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a statement, Xcel Energy said it continues to operate the Monticello plant with "the highest level of safety and security." The utility said it hopes both parties resolve the situation quickly.

In an additional statement, G4S said that “The current replacement officers at the Xcel Energy Monticello nuclear power plant are experienced nuclear security professionals that have been trained by Xcel Energy, G4S and also meet the stringent requirements and qualifications set forth by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which are designed for the safety and protection of the public. The G4S team is committed to ensuring operational continuity and safeguarding of the Monticello site with qualified officers 24/7.”