Jan. 30, 2017
UUP walks Momentive picket line, raises funds for strikers
CLICK HERE to view WTEN-TV's news coverage of UUP's Momentive picket
Nearly 100 UUP members attending the union’s two-day winter policymaking session bundled up and joined striking workers Jan. 30 on a picket line at the Momentive Performance Materials chemical plant on a frigid night in Waterford, N.Y.
Earlier in the day, delegates to the 2017 Winter Delegate Assembly donated $1,800 in an impromptu gesture to help the more than 700 Momentive factory workers who have been on strike since Nov. 2. UUP pledged an additional $1,000.
“We are in step with our fellow unionists because their fight is our fight, too,” said UUP President Fred Kowal, who walked the picket line waving a placard expressing solidarity with IUE-CWA Local 81359, which represents the Momentive workers. “What’s happening here at Momentive can happen anywhere, and we must fight back and fight back hard.”
This is the second time UUPers, above during their Jan. 30 action, joined the picket line. Members of the union’s statewide Executive Board braved the frigid weather Dec. 9 to stand shoulder to shoulder with strikers.
The delegates boarded yellow school buses, which transported them from the DA in Saratoga Springs to the Waterford plant. There, they joined their union sisters and brothers in picketing the company’s unfair demands at the bargaining table.
Momentive leaders said workers have suffered “incremental concessions” over the last two contracts, and will not accept further givebacks. Two ratification votes failed. Strikers said they will remain on the picket line 24 hours a day until a settlement is reached.
What it’s all about
Local 81359 Vice President Darryl Houshower said workers have lost significant wages over the years, some as much as 50 percent. In 2013, concessions continued with the elimination of pension benefits for workers under age 50, putting those employees into 401(k) plans instead.
Now, the company wants to take 1 percent from employees’ 401 (k) that were guaranteed to workers without a defined pension. Momentive also wants to cut health care benefits.
“The company is doing well right now,” Houshower said. “We don’t want a huge piece of the pie, but we want our fair share.”
Donations for the strikers can be mailed to CWA District One, 80 Pine St., 37th Floor New York, NY 10005. Please make checks payable to CWA District One Hospitality Committee; please write Momentive Strikers donation in the memo section.
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