CINCINNATI — Drivers and plant operation workers at industrial gas company Airgas have voted to authorize a strike. The workers have been without a contract since Nov. 30, 2015 and went on a warning strike for one day on March 11, 2016.
The workers, members of Teamsters Local 100, are fighting against Airgas' insistence on placing cameras in workers' restrooms and locker rooms at the Cincinnati facility.
In addition, Airgas is demanding contract proposals that would destroy job security and seniority, as well as remove workers' right to protest Airgas' labor law violations by honoring picket lines.
"It is outrageous for Airgas to claim that it has the right to place cameras in bathrooms," said Sam Bucalo, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 100. "The Teamsters could never agree to such an intrusion on the privacy of our members, and I can't believe Airgas is demanding this perverted 'Peeping Tom' provision."
During the nine months of negotiations so far, Local 100 and its Airgas members have been forced to file more than a dozen unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board against Airgas management, in order to protect their legal rights.
Airgas retaliated against its Cincinnati workers by taking work away from them, threatening to terminate one of the shop stewards if he participated in contract negotiations, and threatening the workers with retaliation for voting to authorize a strike, all of which are serious violations of U.S. labor law.
"Airgas has been abusing workers across America by locking them out during contract negotiations, threatening workers with loss of health care benefits and wages, and attempting to break its workers' unions by illegally threatening union activists," saidKeith Gleason, Teamsters Tankhaul Division Director.
"This vendetta against local workers is also a threat to local hospitals that depend on reliable deliveries of oxygen and other gases," Gleason said. "Airgas management suggested it might lock out Cincinnati workers and use replacement workers, if union members vote against the company's contract proposal. Airgas appears to have no respect for either its workers or its customers."
Airgas was purchased by Air Liquide [EPA: AI], a France-based company, earlier this year.