Saskatchewan union signs pro-nuclear agreement with Bruce Power April 9, 2009

The union that represents workers at SaskPower has been working behind the scenes with Bruce Power and has agreed to advocate in favour of nuclear power, documents obtained by CBC News show.

Bruce Power is the company considering construction of a nuclear power plant in the province, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2067 is the union representing employees at SaskPower's coal-fired power plants.

Earlier this month, the union sent its members a copy of an agreement signed by Bruce Power president Duncan Hawthorne and IBEW Local 2067 business manager Neil Collins.

The union says the letter of agreement indicates that if Bruce Power builds a nuclear power plant in Saskatchewan, IBEW members would operate and maintain the facility. The proposed nuclear power plant would have two 1,100 megawatt units and require between 1,000 and 2,000 employees, the union said.

The letter between Bruce Power and IBEW said a key issue is "that current IBEW Local 2067 members employed at existing generating facilities are not negatively impacted."

As part of that agreement, the union agreed to advocate for nuclear power as the primary alternative for Saskatchewan's electrical future.

The union also agreed to work with Bruce Power on what it calls a "communications protocol" in order to "manage" communications around nuclear power.

"As part of the communications protocol, Bruce Power and IBEW Local 2067 will agree on how to best produce and distribute a regular joint communication to all IBEW Local 2067 members addressing nuclear issues," the letter says.

A major study released earlier this month by a provincial advisory panel, the Uranium Development Partnership, concluded nuclear power should be part Saskatchewan's mix of future electricity sources. Public hearings on the UDP recommendations will begin next month.

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