Type: Newspaper Article
Publication: Las Vegas Review Journal and Las Vegas Sun
Date: Saturday, February 17, 1996
Page: 5B
Author: Marian Green/Review-Journal

A company holding a top-secret Defense Department contract cut 
deals Friday with three unions allowing elections to determine 
whether some employees want to be represented by the labor 

The United Plant Guard Workers of America, the International 
Association of Firefighters and the International Brotherhood of 
Electrical Workers Local 357 all either had signed or reached 
agreements Friday with EG&G Special Projects Inc. to hold 
elections for workers falling under their respective bargaining 
units, according to Jim Small, resident officer for the Las Vegas 
office of the National Labor Relations Board.

EG&G Special Projects Inc. is the contractor for the Air Force's 
operating location at Groom Lake, 125 miles northwest of Las Vegas 
in Lincoln County, former employees at the installation have said. 
The installation where radar-evading aircraft have been tested is 
the focus of federal lawsuits by former workers who claim they 
were exposed to toxic chemicals.

Discussions to reach stipulated agreements with the guard and 
firefighter unions had begun Thursday.

But an agreement with the electrical workers didn't appear to be 
on the horizon Thursday, judging from EG&G's posture during the 
hearing before NLRB Hearing Officer Michael Chavez.

EG&G attorney Kevin Efroymson argued, in part, that the classified 
nature of EG&G's Defense Department contract precluded the 
disclosure of critical information in determining whether the 
bargaining unit is appropriate.

He called EG&G Special Projects Manager Bernard VanderWeele to 
testify about contract requirements spelling out security 
safeguards and requirements that employees must sign classified 
information nondisclosure agreements with the U.S. government.

Chavez queried VanderWeele about the boundaries of information 
employees could disclose. The security chief said electronic 
technicians could divulge things such as their job classification, 
wages, hours and benefits but could not discuss, for instance, 
aspects of their jobs with photo technicians.

Efroymson also said the union's proposed unit is inappropriate 
because he contends it does not include all the employees who 
perform electronic work or who work in an integrated manner with 
people who conduct such work.

The classified nature of the EG&G contract, Efroymson said, also 
meant he couldn't adequately prepare to address the issue because 
he is not authorized access to certain information.

After Thursday's hearing, Patricia Waldeck, the electrical workers 
attorney, said the burden is on the employer to show the unit 
would not be appropriate. She said VanderWeele's testimony 
indicated there is enough latitude in the worker agreements to 
disclose pertinent information related to the bargaining unit.

The hearing raised issues not normally heard in such union 
petition cases, Small said.

"This is unusual. To some extent, it's a matter of balancing 
security concerns with the rights of employees," he said. 

EG&G Special Projects is believed by many to be the contractor for 
the installation, also known as Area 51, but Small said, "No one 
has said on the record it's Area 51."