By Max Sommer
A year after contract negotiations began, workers at the Prysmian Group plant in Scottsville, Texas have gone on strike. The demands of the striking workers include fair wages, benefits, and adequate compensation for work done over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Prysmian Group is a multinational corporation headquartered in Italy with 106 plants worldwide, 23 of which are located in North America. It manufactures electrical power transmission and telecommunications cables and is the largest manufacturer in the world based on revenues. In 2020 alone it reported over $11 billion dollars in sales. In contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers Union (UAW), which represents the workers, the company offered to raise wages at the Scottsville plant by a nickel while increasing the cost of benefits
Workers refused to settle for this offer and went on strike March 27. Since then, the strike has been operating all day and night, with over 200 workers participating. There has been constant picketing in front of the plant and workers are committed to continuing until their demands are met.
Other workers’ grievances include the many overtime hours they are expected to work, and the push from Prysmian Group representatives to lower the number of days employees are allowed to refuse a scheduled shift. The current contract allows only for five refused shifts a year, and only two a month. With the amount of overtime scheduled, those few days are rarely sufficient to last the whole year.
Because the plant in Scottsville is one of the largest employers of Harrison County, the work stoppage is felt across the area. As of April 3, there has been no response to the demands of the striking workers from Prysmian Group representatives, but the strike has had an impact. The plant shut down over the weekend of April 3 for the first time in years.