Braving freezing temperatures not far from the shore of the Hudson River, members of IUE/CWA 81359 picketed outside the Waterford, New York Momentive plant on Tuesday, January 12, protesting the anniversary of drastic unilateral pay cuts imposed by Momentive Performance Materials in late 2008.
Business Week describes Momentive as follows: “Momentive Performance Materials Inc., together its subsidiaries, produces silicones and silicone derivatives; and develops and manufactures products derived from quartz and specialty ceramics worldwide.”
Some 400 production workers in the plant had their pay slashed up to 50 percent, by the Apollo Management-controlled corporation, who bought it from GE in the latter part of the last decade.
The Waterford plant produces the silicones and derivatives.
According to a Wikipedia entry: “Apollo Management L.P. is a private equity investment firm, founded in 1990 by former Drexel Burnham Lambert banker, Leon Black. The firm specializes in leveraged buyout transactions and purchases of distressed securities involving corporate restructuring, special situations and industry consolidations.”
To put this in plain English, Apollo Management is bottom-feeding union buster dedicated to the immiseration of the working class.
To give you an idea of the impact of the wage cuts in this plant, I talked to one worker, a twenty-year-plus veteran, who told me her pay went from $29 an hour to $19 an hour.
The union has filed an unfair labor practice suit with the National Labor Relations Board and is now beginning contract negotiations for the current “agreement” which expires in June of this year.
The labor movement in the Capital District of New York sees the Momentive struggle as a critical battle for workers in upstate New York.
|Jon Flanders is a member and former president of IAM LL 1145 and a member of the Troy Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO.|