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April 26, 2011

Vermont Yankee Employees Out of the Loop on Relicensing?

VY State lawmakers aren't the only ones who have felt left in the dark by the embattled owners of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Some VY employees apparently felt out of the loop too.

The Vernon reactor's corporate owners, Louisiana-based Entergy Corp., sued the state of Vermont in federal court in Burlington last week seeking to prevent the state from shutting the plant down when its operating license expires next year.

Among the hundreds of pages of exhibits attached to the lawsuit are "exit interview" forms completed by eight plant workers on their way out the door. The records are intended to show that uncertainty over the plant's future is costing the company employees — and they do. The eight employees, all of whom left the company between January and March of this year, list uncertainty over the plant's future as the primary or secondary reason for their departure.

One worker wrote: "It was a very hard decision — I waffled back and forth — what I need the company can't supply — get re-licensed."

But the forms wind up illustrating something else too. Several nuke plant workers —  whose names were removed from the questionnaires — complain that plant higher-ups didn't communicate about the status of the re-licensing effort. Ironic, considering Vermont Yankee has spent thousands of dollars on TV and print newspaper ads that use personal testimonials from VY employees to argue for re-licensing.

In response to the question, "What are your general feelings about VY?", one unnamed worker wrote: "Communications are lacking — we find out information from the Newspaper versus in house communications department."

Illustration by Tim Nuke 'Em

Another worker, when asked "What did you like the most/least about working at VY?", responded: "Most — people. well intentioned; Least — lack of communication around re-licensing efforts." That employee again complained about poor communication when asked "What is missing in VY's working environment that you feel is important to employee satisfaction?"

A third anonymous plant worker, asked that same question, responded: "More communication re: future of the plant."

These selected workers had plenty nice to say about their soon-to-be ex-employer, too. "Enjoyed working here. Liked the people and had a lot of fun," wrote one. "Outstanding," wrote another, when asked to evaluate the workplace environment. "Little loud — but other than that excellent."

When asked what he or she liked most and least about working for VY, one employee wrote: "Most — The people. least dealing with the state, how accommodating we are to the state — we don't fight back enough."

Now Entergy is fighting back — and bringing out the big guns: a heap of corporate lawyers. Maybe this employee wants his job back?

So Entergy doesn't share its legal strategy with all VY employees? That is HORRIBLE! And probably dangerous to everyone within a 30-75 km radius!!! The bad news never ends!

Every company I've worked for in my career thus far has had problems with internal communication. I'm all for shutting down VY but I must admit that this story is remarkable in its pointlessness. Make sure you post a follow-up to discuss the lack of healthy options in VY's break room vending machines.

Exactly how is Newcomb's old and tiresome depiction of VY as a cone shaped cooling tower (which VY does not have) in bandages and diapers relevant to an article about whether or not VY employees are or are not informed of executive decision-making?

Hint: it's not.

But keep up the good propaganda.

Not only that but the Entergy Nuclear plant doesn't have bushy eyebrows or a long nose like that. Heh. Newcomb. It's like he doesn't even understand anything about political cartoons.

@ One_Alleged_Vermonter:

Congratulations for demonstrating that reading comprehension is not your forte. The article is not about the quality of the plant (or anybody's personal opinion about the quality of the plant), so the cartoon is completely and totally irrelevant.

Except, of course, to fostering Seven Days' continuing propoganda campaign against VY.

No, I agree with you. It's outrageous that a newspaper would use a political cartoon with a point of view, that you disagree with, to illustrate a blog post. I mean, do they seriously expect us to believe that a nuclear plant wears socks with holes in them? That is just crazy. Of course they don't. Nuclear plant's seldom even wear socks. Any publication that expects us to believe otherwise is just insulting its readership.

Ho-hum, Entergy doesn't share information they don't have on re-licensing with their employees. Talk about a slow news day. I'm sure if they could say they were going to get re-licensed they would tell their employees.

You guys are really stretching on this one. You would think there was zero other news to talk about. Would seem someone may ask Donovan about the investigation into BT? Or the attorney general on gas price gouging? Or well just about anything else. Seems VY get the most comments, that gets traffic and hits for 7Days, so go with it. Want to really generate some comments and traffic, how about writing an article with a slant in the opposite direction... just for fun.

@BB, we never agree. Consider this one a first. I look forward to hearing how many times the vending machines take money without putting out a bag of chips.

We should build a pot burning power plant deep in the woods, 7D could probably get behind that project.

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