Voluntary Separation Offered At Paducah, Portsmouth

Workers at DOE uranium enrichment facilities have two options for incentive programs.

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The United States Enrichment Corp. (USEC), with the Department of Energy (DOE), are offering two voluntary separation incentive programs to workers at gaseous diffusion plants in Paducah, Ky., and Piketon, Ohio. The programs are designed to help ease the impact of about 625 job reductions at the two facilities in July.

USEC has lowered the number of anticipated job reductions at the two plants, downward from 850, due to normal attrition, increases in project work, more DOE work and other factors. The two sites have been in the news the past several months because of worker exposure to radiation and other toxic chemicals.

All impacted workers will receive a package of benefits, including training assistance up to $10,000, medical benefits to cover employer-paid premiums, relocation and outplacement assistance, based on eligibility criteria.

The voluntary separation incentive programs will provide workers two options for voluntary separation:

  • The first will provide a lump sum payment of $12,500, in lieu of earned severance, for workers who began working at the plants on or after USEC was created in July 1993, and $17,500 for workers whose careers began before that date. USEC will contribute $2,500 for each lump sum participant, with remaining costs funded by the Department of Energy.
  • The second will allow workers who volunteer to separate to receive a payment equal to their earned severance.

Acceptance for participation in these programs is contingent on determinations by USEC that a worker''s separation is consistent with its ongoing business requirements. The opportunity to volunteer for participation in both separation programs began May 5 and will remain open until at least May 24.

After completion of these programs, USEC will assess the extent of any needed additional work force reductions, including involuntary separations. In addition to the benefits described above, a involuntarily separated worker will receive earned severance and preference in hiring by DOE contractors and subcontractors.

by Todd Nighswonger

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