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Connecticut Metal Painters Continue Strike at Porcelen Specrail

March 29, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

HAMDEN, Conn.—Workers at Porcelen Specrail have been out on strike since their contract extension expired Mar. 1 and the company threatened to fire immigrant workers who it claimed had irregular identification. Low wages and high health costs are key issues for the about 65 strikers, who include welders, aluminum fabricators, and forklift drivers who construct metal fences and powder-coat steel for pots and pans. Wages average about $14.30 an hour, according to International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 11, but many workers make $10.40, just above Connecticut’s minimum wage. The company has rejected the workers’ proposals for a 60-cent a year raise and a 401(k) retirement plan, according to the Hartford Central Labor Council, and their health-care deductible “is an astounding $3,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a family.” The company, the CLC adds, also wants to increase health-care premiums. “The workers felt they were being abused,” DC 11 business representative Willie Vega Jr. told the People’s World at a rally Mar. 16. “They have to work two and three jobs in order to pay their bills. They have a health plan they cannot afford to use.” Read more

March 29, 2018

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