Second Contract at Solvay Pasadena, Texas, Plant Brings Stability

Wage increases and contract language improvements marked the second agreement for Local 13-227 members at Solvay’s Pasadena, Texas, plant.

The site’s 21 lab and production workers overwhelmingly approved the three-year agreement on Jan. 30.

The new contract includes wage increases of 4 percent, 3 percent and 3 percent, plus a $1,000 signing bonus.

Unit president Steve Toto said the raises were comparable to other plants in the area, and would keep the workforce together.

He said union bargainers also obtained a reasonable drug and alcohol policy and an attendance policy that gives workers flexibility. Every six months workers get a paid day off if they have perfect attendance during that time period.

“We have a fair contract and both sides did a good job to make it happen,” Toto said. “The contract gives us accountability and stability so management can’t make any arbitrary changes. It’s a clear understanding of what the rules are, and you still have a voice.”

“We’re a small plant and stability is important,” he added. “We’ve got stability here now.”

This need for stability is one of the primary reasons workers at Solvay’s Pasadena plant organized in 2017, Toto said. Managers reportedly ordered workers to do jobs they were not qualified to handle and ignored company policies and operating procedures when it suited them.

It took a year for the workers to negotiate a first contract. This time, it only took six days to get a new agreement.

“This management team was a lot more receptive to the union in this round of bargaining than the previous management team in our last negotiations,” Toto said.

He said the company realizes now the necessity of having worker input on health and safety matters and wants more input from process operators.

“We’re more active in the joint labor-management safety committee meetings, which gives us input on changes, and we use the causal tree analysis to find the root cause(s) of incidents when they happen,” Toto said.

The Pasadena plant opened in November 2015, and operates a large-scale, “on pipe” alkoxylation unit to supply alkoxylates—chemicals used as emulsifiers, detergents and wetting agents—for Solvay’s Novecare surfactants.

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