Workers at PolyOne Corp.'s PVC compounding operations in Avon Lake, Ohio, ended a 67-day strike and returned to work Nov. 13.
About 120 workers had gone on strike Sept. 6, citing a need for improved safety conditions and other concerns about the plant's operation. Some of those employees already had returned to work, said Dennis Cocco, vice president of investor relations and communications.
Employees are organizing the plant under the United Auto Workers Union and are continuing to negotiate with PolyOne officials. Negotiations between the two sides began in mid-2005. UAW officials could not be reached for comment.
During the strike, production at the plant was maintained by management employees and outside contractors. Cocco said deliveries were not disrupted and customers were not affected
The strike also did not affect Noveon Inc.'s production of thermoplastic polyurethanes at the site or PolyOne's production of engineering material compounds or other products there, according to officials with Avon Lake-based PolyOne.
When the strike began, Cocco said he would ``put [PolyOne's] safety performance up against anyone in the industry.'' At the time, Cocco also said the firm wouldn't let ``work stoppages or legal grandstanding lead to a contract that won't allow the plant to operate competitively.''
PolyOne ranks as North America's largest overall plastics compounder and also leads the region in PVC compound production. The firm posted sales of about $2.5 billion in 2005.
On the other side of the world, PolyOne recently opened a sales office in Mumbai, India, and is embarking on a 12-month study to decide if the firm should build a compounding plant in that country. Tushar Parida will serve as PolyOne's lead representative in Mumbai.
``We're still in the exploratory phase,'' Cocco said of PolyOne's interest in India. ``We want to get our feet on the ground and assess the opportunity there before we make a decision.''
In a Nov. 27 news release, PolyOne Asian business development director Ludovic Tonnerre said the Indian plastics market is growing at an annual rate of 8-10 percent, and the new office will allow PolyOne to develop new business opportunities there.
PolyOne already operates five plants in Asia - three in China, one in Thailand and one in Singapore.
The firm also recently bought a compounding plant in Dongguan, China, from Ngai Hing Hong Co. Ltd. of Hong Kong.
Asia accounted for about 4 percent of PolyOne's $2.5 billion sales total in 2005. Its sales in the region have grown at double-digit rates in recent years.