BRENNTAG PACIFIC TEAMSTERS DEMAND EMPLOYER END LOCKOUT

Locking Out Trained Chemical Handlers Poses Major Safety Risk to Community

RICHMOND, Calif., May 24, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Teamsters Local 315 members, allies, and political leaders rallied today outside of Brenntag Pacific chemical plant, denouncing Brenntag’s disregard for worker safety as the lockout of Teamsters continues into a fourth day.


International Brotherhood Of Teamsters. (PRNewsFoto/International Brotherhood of Teamsters)

Brenntag, one of the largest chemical distributors in the world with profits of more than $4.3 billion in 2023, began their lockout of 18 Teamsters drivers and warehouse workers on Tuesday morning, in clear violation of their contractual agreement with workers. The 18 workers represented by Local 315 have been in negotiations with Brenntag for months since the expiration of their previous agreement on January 31.

“As drivers, we’re often dealing with dangerous chemicals like sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide. We deliver to places with multiple chemical tanks, like high schools, where an inexperienced driver can make a mistake with a tank and expose students to chemical gases, which has happened before,” said Rene Martínez, a driver with Brenntag Pacific. “That’s why we have three full months of training before we make a delivery without a senior driver, which these new drivers don’t have. They’re not familiar with our equipment or our delivery spots, and that’s dangerous for them and our customers.”

The ongoing lockout of trained and qualified Teamsters is a clear threat to the safety of plant operations and the workers who remain on-site. Teamsters drivers and warehouse workers undergo months of training in safe handling of dangerous chemicals, but Brenntag has made no guarantees that nonunion replacement workers will be similarly trained.

Brenntag locked Teamsters out following a unanimous vote by workers to reject the company’s most recent contract proposal. The proposal, which included no retroactive pay for the period since January 31 and a freeze to pension contributions, also included health care premiums nearly triple the amount that workers currently pay. At a worksite where injuries, including chemical burns, are frequent and consequences can be long-lasting, Teamsters firmly rejected Brenntag’s plan to offload spiking health care costs onto workers.

“Every year, every round of negotiations, Brenntag tries to take more away. I’ve been here 20 years, many of my co-workers have been here for 12 years, even 18 years, and we don’t have much else to give up,” said Miguel Delgado, a Brenntag warehouse worker and 20-year Local 315 member. “We like our jobs, we want to retire from our jobs, but how are we supposed to save to retire when our medical costs are so high? It’s unfair and it’s keeping us from getting back to work.”

Instead of developing a new proposal or moving to declare an impasse, Brenntag violated the no-lockout clause of the agreed-upon contract extension and endangered dozens of plant employees.

“Brenntag needs to end the lockout, let our members get back to work, and return to the negotiating table in good faith,” said Don E. Garcia, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 315. “These are workers who have put in years of service at Brenntag Pacific, who know the plant inside and out, and who know how to keep the community and their co-workers safe. This lockout has to end now.”

Chartered in 1936, Teamsters Local 315 represents more than 4,600 workers throughout Contra, Costa, Napa, and Solano counties in California. For more information, visit teamsters315.com

###

Contact:
Catie Arbona, (510) 460-5130
[email protected]

Cision View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/brenntag-pacific-teamsters-demand-employer-end-lockout-302155599.html

SOURCE Teamsters Local 315