On the Picket Line

Chemical workers strike for pay raise, to reduce forced overtime

By Mike Galati
May 8, 2023

HOPEWELL, Va. — Three hundred and forty chemical workers went on strike April 7 at the AdvanSix chemical plant here. The big majority are members of International Chemical Workers Union Local 591C, while others are represented by skilled trades unions, including International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 666.

Workers voted to reject the company contract offer of 6% raises for about 51% of the workforce in the first year, while offering no raises to the rest, claiming those jobs were already paid “market rate.” While the unions offered to work under the terms of the old contract, the company refused and workers voted in their big majority to strike.

Spirits were high April 15 when two rail workers from SMART-TD Local 769A joined the chemical workers’ picket line to extend solidarity and find out more about their fight. The strikers explained that even though the bosses canceled their health insurance the first day of the strike, they are determined to turn back the company’s attempt to divide and weaken their unions.

They explained that a big part of their battle is to reduce the mandatory overtime the company imposes.

Solidarity messages supporting the strikers can be emailed to: ts20bl18@yahoo.com