Safety Concerns Raised As NY Chem. Plant Workers Strike

More than three dozen reported spills at an upstate New York chemical plant, all since workers went on strike in November, have state officials concerned about safety.

Mnet 174189 Momentive Performance Materials

More than three dozen reported spills at an upstate New York chemical plant, all since workers went on strike in November, have state officials concerned about safety.

Two spills were reported on Thursday, Jan. 12 at the Momentive Performance facility in Waterford, according to the Daily Gazette. One spills involved 3.2 ounces of diesel fuel that leaked from a dump trunk onto asphalt. The second spill involved 10 gallons of diesel fuel leaked from a third-party semitrailer.

A containment boom was deployed on a nearby stream that connects to the Hudson River. The state Department of Environmental Conservation's Spill Response Team (DEC) said neither spill appeared to hit the Hudson.

The Associated Press reports the DEC told Momentive Performance Materials on Thursday that it faces enforcement action by the agency for recent violation

Union workers, who have been on strike since early November, highlighted the increase in spills at the plant since the strike began. The DEC Spill Incidents Database shows there were 11 spills in the month of November and 20 spills were reported in December. Five spills were reported in September and three in October.

Hundreds of workers walked off the job on Nov. 2 in a dispute over proposed cuts in health insurance, retirement and retiree benefits. The striking workers plan to deliver more than 4,000 signatures calling on Apollo CEO Leon Black to negotiate a fair contract on Friday.

The Momentive Performance Materials plant produces silicones and adhesives used in a variety of industries. Apollo Global Management, which owns 40 percent of Momentive, brought in workers to keep the plan operational during the strike. The union said the workers were “unskilled … resulting in a tenfold increase of chemical accidents at the plant.”

A Momentive representative previously said reported spills increase this time of year because the sheen they produce is more visible on rainy days.

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