Local 14200 President Greg May Replaces Retiring Jeff Hill on Solvay Global Forum

Jeff Hill, a 41-year employee at Solvay’s Marietta, Ohio, plant and long-time union leader and representative on the Solvay Global Forum, is retiring at the end of July.

Local 14200 President Greg May will replace Hill as the North American representative on the forum, which has one participant from each of Solvay’s main production regions in China, South Korea, Brazil, India and the United States. The company’s European Works Council also are forum members.

Pictured: USW Local 14200 President Greg May, who is the new North American representative on the Solvay Global Forum.

“Jeff has done a remarkable job on the Solvay Global Forum and helped the USW and other unions resolve local issues,” said USW Secretary-Treasurer John Shinn, who leads the USW’s chemical sector. “He will be missed, but I am happy he recommended Local 14200 President Greg May to take his place. Greg has years of experience and will be an excellent voice for Solvay’s union and non-represented workers.”

Solvay established the Global Forum in 2015 when it signed a Global Framework Agreement with the global union federation IndustriALL that commits the company to mutual respect and cooperation across its worldwide operations and adherence to international standards on labor rights, health and safety and the environment. Communication between all layers of the organization is a bedrock principle of the company’s social values.

The forum meets virtually every quarter, and once a year in April, it holds an in-person meeting at the company’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.   

Solvay CEO and other corporate officials give presentations on the firm’s businesses and operations, and discuss upcoming plans and expectations for the future. Forum members share questions and input with top management regarding proposed policies. Their job also includes passing information from these meetings on to Solvay workers and to explain the Solvay Global Framework Agreement to the company’s union and non-represented sites.

May participated in the annual meeting virtually to get a sense of the forum’s work.

“It was pleasant to see the transparency Solvay is offering to the forum,” he said. “The questions and answers are set up so no question is out of bounds. The company is giving forum members a voice and listening to their input.”

Hill, who has been with the forum since it started, was part of the forum’s negotiations of  a bonus plan, a stock purchase option and the Solvay Cares program, which included paid leave for new parents that could be taken in intervals.

Pictured: (L) Retiring Solvay Global Forum North American representative Jeff Hill and (R) Albert Kruft, coordinator of the Solvay Global Works Council.

He also participated in the forum’s yearly evaluations of Solvay sites in a specific country, traveled to different company locations in the U.S. to explain the global framework agreement and resolve issues between the workers and management, and helped establish a Memorandum of Understanding for the U.S. locations, including a U.S. taskforce to meet and discuss American workplace issues.

“Jeff has always been good about talking with other sites, getting what’s on their mind and getting it presented as a need. I hope to do the same thing in the near future,” May said.

May will start his new position this month when he accompanies a Solvay delegation from Europe that is touring the company’s East Coast plants.

“It is quite an honor to be asked to be a part of the Solvay Global Forum,” May said. “I take my assignment seriously and I want to be a good voice for all Solvay North American workers.”

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