UPDATE: The strike is over. Read the latest story on the Ineos strike.
Workers at a pigments plant operated by Ineos in Ashtabula, Ohio, went on strike March 12.
More than 400 workers represented by Teamsters Local 377 and Local 1033C of the International Chemical Workers Union Council "walked out on an unfair labor practice strike," according to a news release from Local 377. The plant makes titanium dioxide, a common whitener used in plastics and other products.
"The Teamsters and Chemical Workers are demanding that the company and its founder, British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, stop violating U.S. labor law," union officials said in the release. They added that workers at the plant say that Ineos is intimidating workers who are involved in union activities, denying workers their right to collectively bargain and failing to provide safe working conditions.
"The workers … have been pushed to the brink by the company's unlawful practices," said Sam Cook, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 377. "Rather than bargain in good faith, this notoriously anti-union company has decided to use stall tactics to avoid negotiating a first contract. We stand with our members in their fight for justice and fairness."
Ineos officials could not be reached for comment. According to the release, workers at Plant 2 in Ashtabula voted to form a union in late 2021 after the firm eliminated workers' pensions, increased the cost of family health care by more than $100 per week and began using under-trained subcontractors to work at the facility.
The plant is one of two in Ashtabula that were acquired by Ineos from Tronox Ltd. for $700 million in 2019. Stamford, Conn.-based Tronox needed to sell the business to clear its purchase of the global TiO2 business of National Titanium Dioxide Co. Ltd., which operates as Cristal.
London-based Ineos is a global materials supplier, whose products include polyethylene and polypropylene resins.