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December 5, 2023 | Political Action

Job-Killing Legislation Results in Layoffs Right Before Christmas

Harckham/Levenberg Bill Leads to Loss of 100+ Union Jobs in Hudson Valley


Albany, NY – This past week, blue collar workers assisting with the decommissioning of Indian Point were notified that they would be laid off later this month – just before Christmas. The layoffs include 97 members of the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters (NASRCC) and are a direct result of a bill sponsored by Senator Pete Harckham and Assemblymember Dana Levenberg (A7208/S6893). The bill, signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul, effectively stopped the decommissioning of Indian Point.


“As we had warned when the legislation was under consideration, the Harckham/Levenberg bill stopped the decommissioning of Indian Point and has led directly to layoffs of union workers. That’s some Christmas present for union families here in the Hudson Valley,” said Bill Banfield, Assistant Executive Secretary-Treasurer, North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters. The concerns raised by the bill’s sponsors were addressed by the very strict guidelines already in place for the project, and the EPA has developed environmentally conscious procedures that our members were following closely. A handful of misguided activists from outside our community put pressure on local elected officials, and now more than 100 blue collar workers are out of their jobs.”


This past week, the NASRCC sent the following letter to the bill sponsors:


Text of Letter Sent to:

Senator Pete Harckham

Assemblymember Dana Levenberg

Office of Governor Kathy Hochul

We write to notify you of layoffs in your district that are a direct result of S. 6893/A. 7208, and the subsequent changes to the decommissioning plans at Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC). Please see the attached letter from Champion Specialty Services Inc. and Westinghouse notifying the Carpenters of 97 (factual number including RAD TEC from EAS) jobs that will be eliminated just in time for the holidays. 

As you know, S.6893/A.7208 prohibiting the “discharge any radiological substance into the Hudson River in connection with the decommissioning of a nuclear power plant” was recently enacted into law. The North Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters (NASRCC), along with our other organized labor partners at IPEC, opposed the legislation over concerns that it would lead to several unintended consequences that are actually detrimental to the environment, public safety, and economic development, including more precarious onsite water storage at IPEC and schedule changes in the decommissioning that will protract what is already a lengthy and complex process, ultimately meaning  extensive layoffs and a longer timeline for completion. The legislation is duplicative with federal and state regulations and strict safety standards already in place at IPEC. As all of the stakeholders on the ground at IPEC said many times during its consideration, it will do little more than slow down the safe decommissioning of IPEC significantly. 

Decommissioning activities are already governed by strict regulations set forth by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, both of which gave the necessary approvals to Holtec Decommissioning International (HDI). Furthermore, New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation issued a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (SPDES) permit to HDI, which allowed for DEC oversight of the project before this legislation was enacted. The technical processes and best practices contained in the array of regulations governing nuclear decommissioning results in the radiological water discharged from these plants being nearly indistinguishable from the natural radioactivity present in the environment.


The health and safety of our workers is the number one priority for the NASRCC and we would not have our members at Indian Point if we did not believe the activities at the site were safe and environmentally conscious. Furthermore, both HDI and Champion make safety their priority. HDI and Champion’s focus in every decommissioning project is protecting the public, the workforce,  and the environment while keeping strict adherence to NRC Guidelines.  Safety and Compliance and the protection of the public and environment is the goal in every decommissioning. Our original concerns stemmed from the redundancy of the bill and those concerns proved well-placed. Now, union carpenters and other organized labor groups are facing mass layoffs just in time for the holiday with no added environmental benefit at Indian Point.  This just delays the timeline, extends the tax deficit, puts the community and environment at added risk with onsite water storage. 


As a result of this legislation, HDI has formally notified the NRC of changes to the schedule referenced in the Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR). These changes will significantly push back the decommissioning schedule and will negatively impact the need for union carpenters and other organized labor at the site. 


As we pointed out many times during the bill’s consideration, NASRCC members are losing jobs as a direct result of this legislation. We are discouraged the Legislature and the Governor have put rhetoric before science, real regulation, worker safety, and most importantly jobs. This change of course and rules mid-stream will hurt the community in many ways while just prolonging the process. We sincerely hope that in the future, organized labor will have far more consideration from both the Governor and the Legislature.


William Banfield 

Assistant Executive Secretary/Treasurer 

North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters