According to a Reuters report, Dow Chemical has locked 226 union employees out of the company's chemical plant in the Houston-area.
According to United Steelworkers union (USW) officials, the move comes after workers rejected Dow's latest labor contract proposal.
Dow spokeswoman Ashley Mendoza says, "Our Deer Park site will continue to operate in the safe and reliable manner our neighbors, employees and customers have come to expect of us; but it will be without the United Steelworkers after 2 p.m. on April 22nd."
According to USW, the dispute is over fatigue and safety due to understaffing as well as overtime distribution.
In a statement yesterday, USW condemned Rohm and Haas Texas Inc., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical.
"The company's decision to lock its doors on these hard-working union members is reckless and irresponsible," said Ruben Garza, director of the union's District 13, which includes Texas and three neighboring states. "These workers have been bargaining with this company in good faith to reach a fair agreement, and now, through no fault of their own, they find themselves on a picket line."
According to USW, the union had been operating under a 24-hour rolling extension of the current collective bargaining agreement while negotiations on a new contract continued. Dow Chemical informed the union last week that it would lock the workers out if they could not reach a deal by 2 p.m. on April 22, 2019.
"The USW is committed to making sure that we have consistent and safe staffing levels," Garza said in a statement. "These negotiations are about more than just money. We also must consider the safety and well-being of the workers and the entire community."
The union is committed to bargaining for as long as it takes to reach an agreement.
"We have been and we remain willing to work with the company to reach a fair and equitable contract settlement," Garza said. "We hope that the company reconsiders this ill-advised decision, puts its work force back on the job, and returns to the bargaining table to negotiate a new agreement."