A Six and a Half Year Fight Ends with a Contract for Workers at INEOS Pigments
Written by Linda D. Wattley
Six and a half years ago former ICWUC President Frank Cyphers and former Organizer, now current President of the ICWUC Lance Heasley met with workers of Cristal in Ashtabula, OH (now known as INEOS) for the first time. Lance continued to work with those workers and eventually filed a petition for election with the NLRB in September of 2016.
Cristal hired Littler Mendelson law firm (one of the largest anti-union law firms in the nation) to try to stop the workers from having a voice. The company and its attorneys pushed the union to a hearing with the NLRB to try to prevent the workers from having the ability to vote for representation. The union prevailed in the hearing and shortly thereafter voted overwhelmingly with 96% voting to join the ICWUC.
Cristal and their attorneys were determined to keep these workers from having an opportunity to negotiate a fair contract. The Company appealed the Regional Directors decision and direction of election to the NLRB in Washington D.C. Luckily, we still had a labor friendly NLRB and they upheld the Regional Directors decision in late May 2017. We then tried to begin negotiations with Cristal, and they refused to bargain. Unfortunately, the NLRB had changed from a pro-worker Board to a pro-employer anti-worker Board (one of those Board members was a partner in the Littler Mendelson law firm which refused to recuse himself). The Board did nothing with our charges for over three (3) years. During that time, the Teamsters had received calls from some of the unorganized workers at INEOS and started to organize them. Once President Heasley was made aware of this he reached out to the Teamsters and the two unions put the workers interests first and decided to join forces to help them have a voice. The unions filed a joint petition and was successful in the election in September 2021.
After fifteen months of intense negotiations to reach an agreement with INEOS Pigments located in Ashtabula, Ohio, Local 1033C of ICWUC and the Teamsters Local 377 voted on their first contract on March 22, 2023, with an overwhelming victory of 102 to 2.
The road to victory was not a quick or easy journey. In September 2021, the employees of INEOS Factory Plant 2 voted to form a union because of the continued violations of union laws. Fifteen months later still with no agreement between the workers and INEOS Pigments left Local 1033C of the ICWUC and Teamsters Local 377 no other choice but to strike. The workers walked off the job on March 12, 2023. The Union and the Company worked diligently that week and finally reached a tentative agreement on Friday, March 17, 2023. President Heasley sat in negotiations during that last week and had this to say, “I am so happy for the workers of INEOS! This has been a long fight to get to this point. This was a total team effort. We look forward to working together with the Teamsters in providing the best representation in the country to these workers!”
Ron Moore, International Representative of the International Chemical Workers Union Council of the UFCW, Local 1033, had this to say during the strike:
Our members refuse to let INEOS treat them as expendable labor. INEOS owes its success to these employees, and they will not tolerate the company’s continued violation of labor laws.
For more information about the strike click links below:
Stop the War on Workers
Members of ICWUC Local 1033 and Teamsters Local 377 are in it to win it!
On March 17, 2023, INEOS reached a three-year tentative collective bargaining agreement with Local 1033C of the International Chemical Workers Union Council of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and Teamsters Local Union 377. This ended the strike. One more step to victory voting for acceptance by the union members.
For more information about the agreement click links below:
Mission accomplished; we have our first contract as union members with INEOS!
Congratulations to Local 1033C of the International Chemical Workers Union Council of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and Teamsters Local Union 377 for their overwhelming victory to solidify a contract with INEOS.
Ron Moore, International Representative of the International Chemical Workers Union Council of the UFCW, had this to say:
Throughout my entire career, this first-time contract is the best I’ve seen and that was due to the employees taking a stand against the company.