Printed on: July 10, 2013

Waste project contractor requests voluntary separations

By ALEX STUCKEY
astuckey@postregister.com

Idaho Treatment Group began efforts to trim its workforce Tuesday, asking employees to volunteer to leave their jobs.

The contractor in charge of the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project has permission from the Department of Energy to cut up to 35 employees. ITG has about 600 total employees.

The job cuts are necessary, ITG spokesman Rick Dale said, because work has been completed.

The contractor also has rearranged its work priorities to be more efficient and is attempting to accelerate other work, said Shannon Bowman, ITG manager of human resources.

"It's not a budget-driven activity; we want to realign the workforce," Dale said.

The contractor wants to shrink the size of the Analytical Laboratory staff, which verifies and validates radioactive waste, as well as plant engineering staff, which is responsible for building the plant, Dale said.

"Based on the remaining inventory of waste and knowing we will have fewer needs for services from the Analytical Laboratory and plant engineering personnel, this is a reasonable course of action to adjust our workforce to better meet the future requirements of safely and compliantly shipping waste from AMWTP," ITG President and Project Manager Danny Nichols said in a statement to employees.

Those who volunteer to leave will get up to 16 weeks of severance pay, based on their longevity and seniority. They also will receive medical benefits through DOE's Dislocated Workers Program.

Employees have until July 17 to apply. They will learn whether their applications have been accepted between July 18 and July 22, Bowman said. The majority of those chosen will leave July 29.

Bowman said ITG does not anticipate involuntary separations.

"We're not ruling (involuntary separations) out absolutely, but in fiscal year 2013 we don't expect (any)," she said.