Thursday, at winter’s dark midpoint, after all hope felt cold, the almost 700 workers on strike at the Momentive chemical plant in upstate Waterford reached a tentative deal with management after nearly 100 days on the picket line.
What threatened their jobs was not the foreign bogeymen of President Trump’s fever dreams, but other powerful economic forces at work in contemporary American life.
And what saved their jobs was not that same President swooping to the rescue, but good old-fashioned union pressure from IUE-CWA, part of the AFL-CIO, with a boost from Gov. Cuomo and the Daily News.
In the decade leading up to the strike, Momentive workers saw their company, once a division of General Electric, bought by private equity barons that included Trump jobs guru Stephen Schwarzman.
Then, as surely as night follows day, came a steady erosion of their wages, working conditions, health care and retirement benefits.
Andrea DiDomenico, the wife of a Momentive worker, wrote to the Voice of the People last week. She said:
“My husband has been an employee at that plant for 38 years, 10 with Momentive and 28 with General Electric. He has worked continuous shift for all of those years. Continuous shift means you have off only one weekend a month and your hours change every seven days. My husband has missed many family events because of his shift but he did his job to support his family.