Two years after being granted tax subsidies in exchange for creating family-supporting jobs, management at Bayer Pharmaceuticals in Berkeley, Calif., steadfastly refuses to keep its commitment. Instead, it wants to outsource work done by members of International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 6.
Workers at other unions have joined with the ILWU to sponsor solidarity actions. In New York City recently, members of the local central labor council recently leafleted outside of the Millennium Broadway Hotel where a Bayer representative was giving a presentation at the Pharmaceutical Strategic Alliances conference.
In Massachusetts, Jobs with Justice brought union supporters and students together together last month to reminded scientists and researchers participating in a Bioprocessing Summit meeting—including Bayer representatives—that production and maintenance workers are critical to the industrys success.
Bayer has already reneged on its promise to create good jobs in the Bay Area by closing its Emeryville plant and the 420 employees in Berkeley—where the successful hemophilia drug Kogenate is produced—want to ensure they would not face a similar fate.
To help make Bayer a better place to work and an even more successful company, the unions that represent workers at other Bayer plants have joined with the ILWU to form a new Bayer Workers Council that includes United Steelworkers (USW), Machinists (IAM) and the International Chemical Workers Union/UFCW. The AFL-CIO Organizing Department is assisting the newly formed council.
Despite the company’s demands, the employees are committed to negotiating and reaching a fair settlement, ILWU spokesman Craig Merrilees told PharmaManufacturing.com.
Negotiations will only fail if the company is unwilling to address the reasonable concerns of job security, safe staffing, and affordable health care.
He added that Bayer, which made $2 billion in profits last year, respects its workers in other countries like Germany, “but in America, Bayer’s behavior is different. Workers in Berkeley want a positive relationship with Bayer, based on mutual respect and a willingness to work together to solve problems.”