(Orange, Texas)

March 21, 2013

Firestone issues statement over workers strike

Gabriel Pruett
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — Firestone Polymers, LLC recently released a statement voicing the companies disappointment over a group of workers going on strike at the plant on Chemical Row.

Members of United Steel Workers Union Local No. 13836 went on strike at noon Monday at the Orange location after contract negotiations failed this past weekend.

“We are disappointed that despite the efforts of Firestone Polymers, LLC negotiating team, the leadership of the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union has decided to call a strike at the company’s Orange, Texas plan,” the press statement said. “The work action will impact nearly 125 hourly employees.”

Lynne Hancock, spokesperson for the union, said in an article in Tuesday’s The Orange Leader the main issue with the proposed contract is wages and healthcare, more so the healthcare.

“(Firestone) has given us a ‘take it or leave it’ approach,” Hancock said. “The new healthcare package has a high deductible. It’s almost three times the current deductible rate. They are not increasing wages enough to compensate for that.”

Firestone’s press release said plan officials are committed to reaching an agreement.

“It has been our goal throughout the negotiation process to achieve a contract that is in the best interest of the local union members, will allow our company to compete in the global marketplace, and will ensure that as a company we are profitable now and in the long term,” the release stated. “We believe that the contract offered to the USW would have moved the Orange, Texas plant toward those goals. Firestone Polymers remains committed to searching for and achieving a mutually acceptable resolution of all issues at the bargaining table.”