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San Diego Union Members Attend San Onofre Hearing For Costco Gift Cards

Dozens of union members showed up at this week’s public meeting supporting a plan to restart San Onofre nuclear plant. And they did it after receiving Costco gift cards in exchange.

Union members at the NRC public meeting on restart plan for San Onofre, Feb 13th 2013

Members of the San Diego Building and Construction Trades Council traveled in buses to the Dana Point meeting Tuesday. Several encouraged the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to allow Southern California Edison to restart San Onofre.

The plant was shut down one year ago after a tube rupture caused a small radioactive leak.

Tom Lemmon, the business manager of the trades council, told the NRC panel, “At the end of the day, we’re going to be safe. The workers are going to be safe. If there’s a way to get the plant up and running, let’s do it expeditiously.”

Lemmon said later this week that the union paid for the Costco gift cards for members who attended the public meeting at San Onofre. He declined to answer why they were given or what they were worth, saying he wanted to speak with lawyers first.

Lemmon did not return subsequent calls.

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Avatar for user 'susanmartha'

susanmartha | February 16, 2013 at 7:13 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

quelle surprise!

i can somewhat empathize with the union on this topic. but the reality is that we (the residents of southern California) should not be forced into participating in SCE's experiment. nor should we have to continue to pay for their mistakes.

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Avatar for user 'owl'

owl | February 16, 2013 at 9:49 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Amen, susanmartha!

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Avatar for user 'marasmom'

marasmom | February 16, 2013 at 1:13 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Many of the "workers" were also wearing ballcaps with the logo of SCE's primary contractor at San Onofre, Shaw Stone & Webster. Did Shaw Stone & Webster pay union officials to have bodies present at that meeting?

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Avatar for user 'AuntieNuke'

AuntieNuke | February 16, 2013 at 2:06 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Good reporting! No one else covered this so far. Excellent job, Ms. Sharma!

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Avatar for user 'marasmom'

marasmom | February 16, 2013 at 2:26 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Mr. Lemmon is the same guy who suggested in the NRC meeting on Tuesday night that Unit 2 would be restarted to "collect data" ... which is exactly what it is -- an EXPERIMENT. One of the NRC Panelists practically shouted, "If we allow Unit 2 to restart, it will NOT be to 'collect data', it will be because we believe it to be SAFE."

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Avatar for user 'RegularChristian'

RegularChristian | February 17, 2013 at 7:06 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Although I support unions as the best way we have to represent isolated individual workers in their negotiations with organized and unified managements, and in this way make everyone better off, this union seems to have become a tool of management.

Thanks for including this detail in the story.

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Avatar for user 'marasmom'

marasmom | February 17, 2013 at 8:32 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

I've known Tom Lemmon through local Democratic Party circles for the past several years. As so often, it's not that he's a bad guy, just woefully uninformed and not very strategic. He is an unabashed advocate for his union and for decent-paying jobs and benefits for his members -- who taken a HUGE hit in the economic free-fall we've been in since 2008. HE is not the visionary who will lead them to the New World, he's just trying to hang on to what they've got, thinking that is better than the uncertainty ahead.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | February 18, 2013 at 12:09 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

I have seen this many times. Unions bribe people with gift cards to give a false image that more people are for/against an issue.

Unions will do anything, including bribery and bullying, to make more money. They don't care about the working class unless they are paid to.

All unions in California force their "members" to pay hefty dues which are a condition of employment. No pay, no job. That is absolutely wrong and lead to shady actions such as those at the San Onofre hearing.

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