February 20, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Waterford, NY – Workers at the Momentive chemical plant north of Albany voted Feb. 14 to end their 105-day strike and approve a contract that will reduce their vacation days and eliminate health insurance for retirees.
IUE/CWA Local 81359 members voted 317-211 to accept the three-year deal, which will give them two 2% wage increases but also cut their health insurance. “I know some of the guys were hoping that we would get a super-duper contract,” Local 81359 President Dominick Patrignani told the Albany Times-Union. “But we did make gains, in that we didn’t lose some of the things that the company initially wanted to take from us.” The union was able to prevent cuts in the company’s contribution to the workers’ 401(k) plan, he said. The contract also blocks the reinstatement of 27 workers management has accused of misconduct or sabotage, unless an arbitrator orders it to give them their jobs back. Patrignani called them “hostages.” The strikers will have to attend classes at a nearby hotel on the company code of conduct and “difficult conversations” before they can return to work. “At least they are holding it at a place that has a bar in it, so I can drink after having to listen to their bullshit,” one worker told the Times Union. Read more