Workers strike outside Waterford chemical plant for fair contract

WATERFORD, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Union workers at a chemical plant in Waterford rallied on Wednesday to demand a fair contract with the company.

For five months, workers at Momentive have been rallying in demand of a fair contract. They claim their benefits are on the verge of being taken away.

Around 750 members currently work at Momentive, a chemical plant that workers said can be dangerous.

“There’s a lot of dangerous stuff at this plant,” Clark Kairby said. “A lot of nasty chemicals. Very flammable, very hazardous.”

Kairby has been a worker at the plant for nearly four years. He’s one of the hundreds of people standing on the streets holding up signs that say “Making People Miserable.”

“I’ll be out here as long as it takes for me to get my job and go back to work,” he said.

Management of the company is still negotiating worker contracts. They are discussing whether or not workers should have health and retirement benefits.

“Guys that have been here for 30, 40 years all of a sudden won’t have medical insurance,” Kairby said.

This is the first national contract they’ve struck on, and the one message they’re sending out is the demand for a fair contract where they’re protected.

“We just want something that’s fair that we can bring back to our membership and vote on and the company at this time is not willing to move at all on that,” Health & Safety Union Vice Pres. Darryl Houshower said.

As cars passed by Momentive, they honked continuously to show support for the workers’ demands.

“We understand that healthcare is a national epidemic, if you want to call it,” Houshower said. “We understand that, but we don’t want to pay the whole brunt of it.”

The call for pay increases and the elimination of retiree health and medical benefits is still being talked over with no timeline as to what the resolution will be.

“I don’t know,” Kairby said. “I honestly don’t have a clue.”

Workers said they will be rallying 24 hours a day, seven days a week for now. There is no planned date of when it will be resolved.

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