By: By Miles Moore
RUBBER & PLASTICS NEWS
April 15, 2013
ORANGE, TEXAS — About 130 workers from United Steelworkers Local 13-836 are back at work at the Firestone Polymers LLC plant in Orange while contract negotiations continue between management and the union.
The workers, who went on strike March 18, went back to work April 1 under an extension of their 2008 contract, the USW said.
According to the USW, the main reason for the strike was management's proposal for a consumer-driven health care plan at the Orange plant. The health care plan would have low premiums, the union said, but also out-of-pocket costs six times higher than what workers are paying now.
Firestone Polymers also proposed a pay raise of 2 percent over the next three years. However, the USW said this wouldn't be enough to cover the extra out-of-pocket costs for health care.
"We are confident we will be successful in obtaining a fair agreement that will benefit both our members and the company," said Ben Lilienfeld, director of USW Sub-District 1, in a press release.
In a statement, Firestone Polymers said it was encourage by the end of the strike.
"Firestone Polymers remains committed to achieving a contract that is in the best interest of the local union members, allows our company to compete in the global marketplace and helps to ensure the short-term and long-term profitability of our company," it said.