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Momentive Performance Materials workers approve new contract

February 14, 2017 11:43 PM

WATERFORD -  What should have been sweet victory on this Valentine's Day, seemed to be more of a bittersweet realization.

"We have 25 members that were victims of the strike," union president, Dominick Patrigniani said.

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Momentive Performance Materials and CWA leadership finally came to an agreement on a two and a half year contract.

A major sticking point for union workers was something called ARC- their annual retirement contributions.

"We were able to for over 450 people in this contract, hold the line on it and not lose the 1% that was a big thing for a lot of our younger members," Patrignani said.

He adds that people were willing to keep picketing.  

378 people voted to ratify while 211 were against this agreement.

Sensitivity training will begin Wednesday and workers will be phased back in this weekend, but the main focus for many of them now is to reinstate the 25 people who were fired during the strike.

"They were discharged falsely by the company for picket line activity and there's some that are absolutely so ludicrous it makes me want to vomit some of the things they charged people with," Patrignani explained.

"I was the first termination on the picket line for walking back and forth here," Michael Walbroehl said.

Walbroehl was let go during the first week of picketing. 

"You don't feel like a productive father you're not going to work and coming home and doing what you're supposed to be doing," he added.

A third party investigator will begin the process of binding arbitration.   

"These guys right here I would do anything for them and I wouldn't change anything I've done for the past 105 days for any one of them," Walbroehl said.

The colleagues became like family for 15 weeks and these camps along Route 4 like their home.


Dennis Trainor, Vice President for CWA District 1, released the following statement:

"We're pleased that Momentive workers have ratified the tentative agreement and their 15-week struggle to protect good jobs in upstate New York has come to an end.  It is understandable that some members felt that they didn't achieve everything they wanted or deserved, but this agreement represents a substantial improvement over the company's "take it or leave it" offer that sparked the strike last November.  The Momentive workers and their families can be proud of the battle they waged, and we are all grateful for the amazing support they received from the labor movement, the community, and from elected officials."


February 9, 2017

Jack Boss, President and CEO of Momentive said:

"We believe this agreement provides a fair, market competitive package for our employees and their families while allowing Momentive to remain competitive. With the endorsement of CWA leadership and the local Union presidents, we look forward to ratification of the agreement so we can work together to serve our customers and build a stronger Momentive."

Credits

Karen Tararache

Copyright 2017 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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