WATERFORD, N.Y.—Momentive Performance Materials Inc. and IUE-CWA Locals 81359/81380 are in a labor standoff that is stretching into its third month.
The local unions, consisting of about 680 employees at Momentive's Waterford manufacturing facility, has been on strike since Nov. 2 as the sides try to come together on a fair and equitable labor contract. So far, little progress has been made since the last offer was rejected by the union, 476 to 190 on Nov. 7.
The labor negotiations cover about 730 employees. Local 81539 consists of about 600 at the Waterford manufacturing plant that produces silicone and quartz products, while Local 81380 covers about 80 other lab technicians in Waterford. The deal also would cover the 50 employees at Local 84707 in Willoughby, Ohio, which initially had joined the Waterford locals on strike but returned to work Nov. 14.
According to Momentive, both Locals 81380 and 84707 voted to ratify the Nov. 7 proposal, but the overall tally kept it from passing.
"We continue to believe that a strike benefits no one, and we remain committed to reaching an agreement that will position us for long-term growth," a Momentive spokeswoman said via email.
The two sides returned to the bargaining table Jan. 10 and were scheduled to negotiate through Jan. 12. A union spokesman confirmed it had made the company an offer fully endorsed by Local 81359.
The union spokesman said the deal included a significant compromise that would have saved Momentive millions of dollars on health care and pensions.
However, on Jan. 11 Momentive rejected the offer. The spokeswoman said the offer would have put the sides "significantly further apart than the previous offer."
The union spokesman said Momentive pushed for an anti-worker injunction, which was subsequently denied by the court. He added that the judge encouraged Momentive to find a way to resolve its workers' issues.
Negotiations were broken off Jan. 11. As of press time, there were no concrete plans to return to the table. The spokesman said the union remains open to finding a resolution, but it is adamant that its demands be met.
He claimed the union has endured 25-50 percent pay cuts and has had its pensions frozen in past negotiations spanning the last decade.
"We have given and given and given," he said. "If the company remains intent on gutting the contract and destroying good jobs in upstate New York, reaching a settlement soon will be difficult. But the surrounding community is in complete support of the union and disgusted with the company's behavior, and the workers are unwavering in their support of the strike, and we are sure we will prevail in the end."