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Upstate NY Chemical Workers Remain Strong As Strike Enters Tenth Week

January 4, 2017 
By Doug Cunningham
Workers Independent News

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New York, NY - 700 chemical plant workers remain on strike in upstate New York after walking off the job November 2nd.  The workers struck over concessionary contracts proposed by Momentive Performance Materials in Waterford, New York.

The company is demanding reductions in worker health and pension benefits, a cut to vacation time, and a total elimination of all medical benefits and life insurance for retirees.  While the union and the company are tentatively scheduled to return to the bargaining table January 11th, IUE-CWA Local 81359 President Dominick Patrignani (Pat-ree-ah-nee) is not optimistic:

[Dominick Patrignani]: “I keep telling people, ‘don’t get your hopes up.’  This company’s just unbelievably brutal.  It’s all threats and scare-tactics, and if you look at their earnings, they’re doing very well.  Unfortunately they just want to keep taking it out of the workforce.”

After nine weeks on strike, morale on the picket lines remains high:

[Dominick Patrignani]: “We’ve been through a lot, and I’ll tell you, I’ve never been more proud of working with a group of people.  They are strong, they are strong-willed.  They’re picketing in the freezing cold, the rain, the snow, 24-7 around-the-clock.  And they’re all standing together and saying, “No”, they want a fair contract.  And if you look at the way they’re acting, and the way they’re picketing and the way they’re holding the line and standing strong.  That’s the world of Communications Workers of America.  We stand strong and we fight for a contract.”

Patrignanai also cited strong community support for the striking workers:

[Dominick Patrignani]: “Every union across the state of New York and outside the state of New York, we’ve had everyone here showing solidarity and showing support.  The community has been unbelievable.  Our political has been astronomically supportive, because again they understand the severity of how dangerous this plan is in the community, and how important it is to be fully trained and certified to run equipment in this business.  They’ve had a record number of spills go on over the last two months since we’ve been out of the plant.  They’ve had a lot of issues.  All we want to do is get back to the table and get a fair contract and get everybody back to work.  We pride ourselves in what we do there.  We want to be treated fairly.”


 

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