WATERFORD

MPM, union leaders to meet this week

Picture

MARC SCHULTZ/

GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

In this fi le photo from Dec. 15, 2016, a member of IUE-CWA Local 81359 walks the picket line outside of Momentive Performance Materials in Waterford.

Picture

MARC SCHULTZ/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

In this fi le photo from Dec. 1, 2016, rank and fi le members of IUE-CWA Local 81359 picket in front of Momentive Performance Materials Inc. in Waterford.

The two sides are planning to sit down and negotiate again as the strike at Momentive Performance Materials that began in November continues into the new year.

Meetings between union leaders and company officials are expected to take place between Tuesday and Thursday, according to Dom Patrignani, president of the IUE-CWA 81359.

Momentive Performance Materials spokeswoman Tina Reiber confi rmed company offi cials will be meeting with union offi cials in the second week of January. The union sent a request to meet with company offi cials on Dec. 7, according to Reiber.

“They asked us to return to the table the second week of January and we have agreed to do so. We expect that the union’s bargaining committee and the company’s bargaining committee will attend the meetings. Our ultimate goal remains to reach a ratifi ed agreement with the union,” said Reiber.

Since Momentive began busing in replacement workers in November, union members have questioned the plant’s safety. There were 20 spills listed in the Department of Environmental Conservation Spill Incidents Database in the month of December alone.

Reiber has said there is seasonality to some spills: “Vehicle drips [and] spills usually increase in number this time of year because they are more visible during rain events because of the slight oil sheen.”

“In light of the sharp spike in concerning safety issues at the plant and the impact they have on the community, the union once again requested Momentive come to the table and do what it takes to get the right people back to work,” said Patrignani.

“I’d love to say we were optimistic, but Momentive’s actions have not only outraged us, but the community as a whole,” he said.

“The company remains insistent on slashing health care benefi ts and pension contributions for active employees and eliminating health care and life insurance benefi ts for retirees who have worked their whole lives for this company. Meanwhile, they are bringing in workers with little or no training, who are making mistakes with dangerous chemicals and putting the whole community at risk,” added Patrignani.

“I really hope they do the right thing. We all want to get back to doing our jobs.”

Momentive Performance Materials fi led a request for judicial intervention against the union Jan. 5. Neither company or union offi cials would comment on the matter.

Reach Gazette reporter Cady Kuzmich at 269-7239 or ckuzmich@dailygazette.net.

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