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Idaho Cleanup Work To Resume, CWI Laying Off 133

The work that has been suspended at the Idaho Cleanup Project will soon be starting again, but that’s not without further layoffs from CWI. By the end of January, 133 employees will be losing their jobs.

There’s the good news: “The work that was suspended in the month of December involving the exhumation of buried waste out at the site will resume,” said CWI spokesperson Erik Simpson.

The work is resuming because some Department of Energy, CWI, union and congressional members helped re-prioritize some of the work and got extra funding for it, Simpson said. Some of the union workers who were removed from the project earlier could come back this time around. They’ll be working to put up soft-sided buildings at the cleanup site, Simpson said.

But then, there’s the bad news: “CWI is going to have 133 employees impacted by workforce restructuring activities during the month of January,” Simpson said.

The cuts are happening because of funding issues at the state and federal level, he said.

For Beatrice Brailsford with the Snake River Alliance, the good news comes with an annoyance that funding needs to be fought for in the first place.

“When we look at these indiscriminate budget cuts, I think we’re looking at irresponsible public policy,” Brailsford said.

But, Simpson said, the layoffs mean that the project is moving on.

“The whole design of the Idaho Cleanup Project is once that work is done, then the jobs go away. And we as employees have known that since the beginning of the Idaho Cleanup Project,” Simpson said.

Brailsford is just hoping that the project won’t get suspended again.

“The cleanup project is going well, it’s got a full head of steam, and to put it on hold, I think is just a risky strategy and it’s not in the public interest,” she said.

“Even with the suspension of work, we were still ahead of schedule with many of our milestones and now that this work will resume, again, we will continue meeting our regulatory milestones and exceeding some of those milestones as well,” Simpson said.

CWI will help the laid-off employees with resume writing, they will get an extension on their insurance and other severance benefits as well.

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