November 7, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Waterford, NY – Workers at Momentive Performance Materials went on strike Nov. 2 after more than three months of unsuccessful contract talks. Police prevented them from blocking the entrances to the facility as busloads of scabs arrived.
“They’re going to be running equipment that they can barely run when we’re in there,” longtime worker John Ryan told the Schenectady Daily Gazette, saying that having unskilled workers handling explosive chemicals endangered Waterford, a small town on the Hudson River north of Troy. The about 700 workers, members of IUE CWA Local 359, produce caulks and adhesives for different industries. Since the Apollo Global Management hedge fund acquired the plant in 2006, they have accepted pay and pension cuts in two contracts. This time, according to the New York State AFL-CIO, management’s demands “would drastically raise workers’ health-care costs and eliminate all retirement benefits for future retirees.” Momentive responded that “the proposals put forward by the union have not provided a viable solution for the long-term sustainability of our Waterford and Willoughby [Ohio] sites.” “They don’t want to bargain very fairly. It could get uglier as it goes on,” one striker said. Read more