Midland Chemical Units Agree to Contract Extensions

Local 12075-18 at Trinseo in Midland, Mich., agreed Feb. 5 to extend its contract one year to retain existing benefits.

Four other chemical bargaining units of Local 12075 at Midland extended their contracts as well. All of these agreements expire Feb. 10, 2022.

These units were once part of Dow Chemical before it merged with DuPont and spun off several businesses. Trinseo purchased Dow Chemical’s plastics and latex business.

A number of factors impacted the decision to extend the contracts one year, including the lingering economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the potential hazards of bargaining in-person.

The 55 workers in the Trinseo unit received a 2.5 percent wage increase and retained their ability to carryover vacation time for another two years. The company removed this benefit from salaried employees last year.

“In the last 20 years of collective bargaining history with Dow, we have never had to negotiate a contract during an economic downturn. Those previous contracts carried us through economic recessions,” said Kent Holsing, president of the Local 12075-00 unit. Holsing was president of Local 12075 when all six bargaining units were part of Dow Chemical Co.

“While the chemical industry is looking at an upswing in 2021, it will likely be later in the year and be more of a ‘U’ shape recovery versus a ‘V’ shape recovery,” he said.

In January, the 12075-00 unit committee agreed to a one-year contract extension for Dow’s west side operations in Midland that cover chemical processing, logistics and environmental operations (incinerator and wastewater treatment plant). The 65 members in the unit will receive a 2.7 percent wage increase, effective Feb. 8. 

Holsing cited the inability to meet in-person because of the pandemic and the constraints of bargaining virtually as reasons for the unit committee’s decision to extend the contract. He said Dow had similar concerns.

Other extensions

In early September 2020, the SK Saran unit 12075-23, which has about 30 members, agreed to a one-year contract extension with a 2.5 percent wage increase for 2021. This unit makes the saran resin that goes into the manufacture of plastic wrap and Ziploc bags. Both sides extended the contract because of business reasons, Holsing said.

In late August of 2020, DuPont unit 12075-24, with 300 members, agreed to a one-year extension with a 2.1 percent wage increase for 2021. With the sale of the company’s Nutrition and Biosciences business on the horizon, both parties extended the contract.

On Feb. 1, DuPont finalized the sale of its Nutrition and Biosciences business to International Flavor and Fragrances (IFF). The current contract, including wages and benefits, transferred with about 100 members to IFF. That agreement expires Feb. 10, 2022, like the rest of the extended contracts.

The IFF members will have their own unit.

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