- A group of 70 security guards known as the "camo
dudes" walked off their jobs Monday in Las Vegas and at the covert
military installation known as Area 51, a place they said they can't talk
- "Use your imagination," union President Vernell
Hall said when asked where he worked as he and more than a dozen other
striking security officers displayed "On Strike" signs on Haven
Street near McCarran International Airport.
- That is where nondescript passenger jets, known as Janet
planes, routinely take the guards and other workers to the installation
on the dry bed of Groom Lake, 90 miles north of Las Vegas, a place they
referred to only as "nowhere" and "out of town."
- Hall, leader of the Security Police Association of Nevada,
an in-house collective bargaining unit, said the association's members
decided to go on strike after three months of negotiations for a new contract
with their employer, EG&G Technical Services Inc., ended in a stalemate.
- Hall said the issues include lack of adequate wages and
- "There's been too much overtime since Sept. 11.
Overtime on top of overtime," Hall said.
- Greg Rentchler, security manager for EG&G, confirmed
that about 70 guards went on strike early Monday at the company's Grier
Drive offices and at "remote locations."
- "They work at remote test locations. They support
the Nellis (Air Force) ranges," Rentchler said.
- "We have a close relationship with these guys, and
they are in negotiations as we speak," he said.
- Rentchler said supervisors are manning the posts vacated
by the striking guards.
- He said the guards previously held a contract with another
company, EG&G Special Projects, until a new one was signed in 1996
with EG&G Technical Services Inc. He said EG&G Technical Services
Inc. holds a contract with the federal government to provide services for
the Department of Defense, including a security guard force.
- Although Rentchler would not give details about his reference
to "remote locations," a source familiar with the guard force
said last week that the guards would strike at 3 a.m. Monday. The source
said many of the guards had been assigned to Area 51, the much-publicized,
38,400-acre Groom Lake installation where high-tech U.S. aircraft are tested.
- It is the same place where former workers at the installation
have charged that coatings for radar-evading stealth fighter jets were
burned in open trenches, sending toxic clouds into the air that made them
- Glenn Campbell, who operates the Internet bookstore Aliens
on Earth and formerly directed an Area 51 watchdog group, said he received
an anonymous call Monday from a man who said "the camo dudes are on
- Campbell often has referred to the guards as "camo
dudes" because of the camouflaged uniforms they wear while patrolling
places where public lands border restricted areas around the Groom Lake
- While pickets paraded outside the ramp for Janet planes
at McCarran, another group sat in lawn chairs outside EG&G Technical
Services offices a few miles away on Grier Drive. One striking security
officer at that location, Bill Hull, said he wants "fair and equitable
treatment from our company."
- A 17-year employee, Hull said he hasn't received a pay
raise in "14 or 15 years" and said he lost at least 25 percent
of his pay when the contract was switched to EG&G Technical Services
- Hull, wearing a baseball cap emblazoned with a U.S. flag
flanked by two alien-face pins, said he is paid $15.05 per hour but should
be making at least $16.03 per hour.
- He said the guards work 12-hour shifts, staying four
days "out of town," before flying back to Las Vegas and getting
three days off.
- "We don't get break periods," he said.