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Call To Support IAM 1584 Henkel-Bay Point Strike & Picket Line 5AM-11PM M-F
by repost
Wednesday Nov 8th, 2017 2:41 PM
Striking IAM 1584 Henkel-Bay Point workers are calling for community and labor support on their picket line. A worker was murdered at the plant due to the company negligence and deadly health and safety conditions
Call To Support IAM 1584 Henkel-Bay Point Strike & Picket Line 5AM-11PM M-F
HENKEL AEROSPACE Workers on Strike!

Since October 16th, 2017, the IAM Local 1584 members at Henkel-Bay Point have been on Strike! Fighting for Respect, a solid Grievance Procedure, Fair Advancements and Workplace Safety, these Brave Fighting Machinists have been picketing the their company around the clock.

PLEASE Stop by and support these Brothers and Sisters as they fight for a fair contract!
PICKET LINES around the clock at 2850 Willow Pass Rd. Pittsburg, CA

Email us at Local1584 [at]

Striking IAM 1584 workers allege fatally dangerous environment, racism at Henkel Aerospace

Austin Woodyard, 34, is a production operator at Henkel Aerospace in Bay Point. Over 80 members of Machinists Local 1584 are striking over unsafe conditions that Woodyard said is mostly ignored by management and has led to a number of injuries and one death. (Aaron Davis/East Bay Times)
By AARON DAVIS | aarondavis [at] | Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: October 31, 2017 at 4:38 pm | UPDATED: November 1, 2017 at 3:43 am
BAY POINT — Employees of Henkel Aerospace have been striking for 15 days over what they see as a lackadaisical attitude toward significant and sometimes fatal workplace accidents.

The strike began on Oct. 16 as more than 80 members of Machinists Local 1584 walked off the job site at Henkel Aerospace Industrial, a subsidiary of a multinational company based in Germany.

The strike was in response to a breakdown in negotiations over a contract that organizers say would improve safety procedures at the aerospace adhesive manufacturer.

“We’ve had grievance over grievance on training and safety issues, and within the last months, there have been incidents where workers have been injured,” said Steve Older, area director for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. “One had third degree burns over 30 percent of his body.”

Eric D. Wilcox, who has been Director of Operations at Henkel Aerospace in Bay Point for eight weeks, said he could not comment on past incidents.

Henkel Aerospace’s record of workplace accidents at its Bay Point facility has been well-documented. In 2013, 26-year-old David Eleidjian of Antioch was pulled into the mixing machine and crushed. His legs were amputated, but he died of his injuries. The company was cited by Cal-OSHA for six violations and fined over $200,000.

“He survived two tours of duty in Iraq to come home and die in an industrial accident,” said Margaret Hanlon-Grandle, executive director of Contra Costa Central Labor Council.

The Director of the Department of Industrial Relations said at the time that the incidentwas completely preventable and that the company knew of the dangers around the mixer before Eleidjian’s death.

Antioch resident Austin Woodyard, 34, was on the job for a month when Eleidjian died and remembers visceral details from the incident and cleaning up afterward.

Woodyard said that the mixer, which is where sticky glue goes into an exposed shaft spinning at 700 rotations per minute, is a dangerous machine and getting caught in it happens so frequently, employees call it “taking a ride.”

“We did start an employee safety group afterward, but I quit it because nothing was happening,” Woodyard said. “There’s no accountability. The supervisor doesn’t come by and say, ‘stop what you’re doing.’ There’s no safety person on the floor.”

In 2016 and 2017, two separate inspections by Cal-OSHA found 10 violations, including a failure to remove damaged or bent safety pins provided to employees for a mixer and a shaft and having three of four emergency exits blocked. The company was fined $10,250 and is still contesting the violations.

Wilcox, however, said he plans on transforming the culture of the company.

“It’s unfortunate we have a work stoppage, but we’re going to work through it,” he said. “My vision for the site is we’re trying to build teamwork, communication and accountability and that goes across the whole organization.”

Wilcox said he will prioritize safety, quality and productivity in that order.

Outside, strikers alleged that there was no one qualified or trained to do the jobs they were doing, but production was continuing nonetheless. Wilcox said that former production workers, group leads and supervisors were all “pitching in.”

Geoffrey Stokes, a former machine operator at Henkel, stopped by the picket line to talk with friends. He left Henkel in June after allegedly being written up for leaving the job after he passed out from dehydration and was hospitalized.

“I left here in an ambulance twice. I had a hospital stay when I left here; I wasn’t just dismissed. It was three weeks,” Stokes said.

He also cited an egregious pattern of racially biased behavior from a supervisor. Other employees confirmed that a large number of employees signed a petition alerting corporate management to the supervisor’s behavior, but no one ever heard what happened and the supervisor still is employed at the site.

Union representatives have begun to meet with Henkel staff and are attempting to negotiate a contract through a federal mediator, both union and management officials said.

As of Nov. 1, all striking employees, including four on disability from workplace accidents, will lose their health insurance since they are on strike and not employed full time.

HENKEL AEROSPACE Workers on Strike!