Exelon Generation Co., LLC v. Local 15, Int'l Bhd of Elec. Workers, No. 11-2423 (7th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
The Atomic Energy Act, 42 U.S.C. 2011, requires that nuclear generators implement access authorization programs. Many employees at privately-owned nuclear power plants must receive a security clearance with "unescorted access" privileges. When such access is denied or revoked, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires owner-licensees to provide the aggrieved worker with a review procedure. From 1991 to 2009, the Commission took the position that labor arbitrators could review access denials at unionized facilities. Courts agreed. In 2009, the Commission completed post-9/11 overhaul of security requirements. New language was ambiguous as to whether the Commission had changed its policy to prohibit arbitral review. The district court entered declaratory judgment that the amendments prohibited arbitration of access denial decisions. The Seventh Circuit reversed, concluding that the Commission did not "flip-flop on an important, longstanding, and controversial policy without clearly indicating either in the text of the rule or at any point in the rulemaking history that it was doing so."