PNNL Employees' Futures up in air - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

PNNL Employees' Futures up in air

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RICHLAND, Wash.- Thousands of workers' futures are up in the air after the Energy Department canceled bidding for a new contract to run Pacific Northwest National Lab.

Lawmakers had been fighting to preserve the "use permit" that allowed Battelle to do private work at the Lab, they got their way yesterday when DOE cancelled bidding that would have erased the permit, but workers still don't know who'll be running the lab in a few years.

Battelle has a contract to run the lab as late as september of next year, but after that still, no one knows who'll be in charge.

"There's been uncertainty already for the employees for about the last two years, and particularly since they send out the draft RFP.   From an employee standpoint they didn't know if they would be working for another company next year, what the future really holds," said Gary Petersen with TRIDEC. 

Senator Patty Murray, Congressman Doc Hastings and State Rep Larry Haler all issue, statements praising the decision to delay bidding and possibly keep the "use permit." 

DOE has to make a decision before the current contract runs out next year.