Strike by union members at Braskem’s Kenova polypropylene plant entering sixth month

Union members at the Braskem polypropylene plant in Kenova are nearing six months on the picket lines. Formerly owned by Sunoco, the plant currently has about 35 people continuing to operate the plant while 72 members of United Steel Workers Local 721 remain on strike. Sticking points in negotiations for the three-year contract are insurance benefits and removal of the pension plan for new employees, as well as long hours, which can lead to safety concerns, said Tom Sullivan, a chemical operator and member of the union. Wages are not an issue, he said, describing it as a "non-economic" strike. The union's last meeting with Braskem officials was in early January.The company has not yet hired temporary replacement workers, though it has notified the union that it intends to do so, said Chris Bland, vice president of manufacturing for Braskem, which has its U.S. headquarters in Philadelphia and its world headquarters in Brazil.
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