Tagged as DanChem Technologies

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Nov 16: DanChem Technologies Contract Meetings

We are pleased to announce that we have reached a tentative agreement with DanChem Technologies that we are prepared to recommend for ratification. On Friday, November 16, 2018, we will be hosting two contract meetings for members to review the offer.

As a Local 400 union member, you have the opportunity to get answers to your questions and vote on your next contract. Please make a plan to attend one of these important contract meeting. (You only have to attend one meeting.)

DanChem Technologies Contract Meetings

Friday, November 16, 2018
7:30 a.m. or 7:30 p.m. (You only have to attend one meeting.)

Courtyard Marriott
2136 Riverside Dr. Danville, VA 24540

Sep 27: DanChem Technologies Membership Meeting

On Thursday, September 27, we will be hosting a union meeting for members working at DanChem Technologies to prepare for upcoming negotiations on our new contract.

We need your help to shape our strategy and prioritize our goals for negotiations. Your input will help us put together proposals well in advance of the actual contract negotiations and help us fight hardest for the things you and your coworkers want most.

As a Local 400 union member, please make a plan to attend this important meeting.

DanChem Technologies Membership Meeting

September 27, 2018
7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Courtyard Marriott
2136 Riverside Drive, Danville, VA 24540

Shop Stewards Save Members from Dust Exposure

Local 400 shop stewards from several plants in Virginia, including DanChem Technologies, pose for a photo at a seminar in May 2017.

Banks Stamps, Jr., has worked at DanChem Technologies in Danville, Va., for 42 years, and he became a shop steward in 2004 after a 10-month-long strike. One of his top priorities ever since has been to build a worker-run safety program to better protect members’ health. Recently, Banks and two fellow shop stewards, Mike Barker and Eddie Dalton, put that program to the test.

The shipping & receiving lead person at DanChem, Banks knew something wasn’t right when UFCW International Vice President Robin Williams came to the plant for a tour. “There were certain areas that management didn’t take her around to,” Banks said. “But I’ve been here so long, I knew what processes were going on.”

It turns out that one particular room was being used to package a newly-produced material for a customer that was demanding a lot of this product. (The specifics can’t be revealed because it’s proprietary information.)

“The product’s put in large tote bin,” Banks explained. “It comes out of a shoot. Then it’s put through a sifter, which vibrates, turning larger granules into a powder. The problem is it leaves plenty of dust in the air. It’s dangerous to inhale and it actually has explosive properties. Making matters worse, there was no ventilation in the room where the packaging was taking place.

“So we’ve been working on eliminating or reducing the dust to safe levels,” he said. “Mike [Barker] and I had a meeting with management. We let them know our concerns and that we expect them to do what’s needed to minimize the dust. We also told them they need to address the heat and lack of ventilation in that room.”

In response, DanChem management acted to make some temporary fixes to the problem. “The company said they would make some adjustments on the machine used for packaging,” Banks said. “They would transfer the product into smaller drums and sift it into smaller packages. They would blow in cooled air on hot days. The people doing the packaging would rotate in and out, rather than doing full 12-hour shifts in the one room.

“We made clear to them that these actions need to be followed by a permanent fix,” he added. “Among other steps, they promised to install a permanent air conditioning system. We’re going to hold them to it and we’re going to have follow-up meetings, getting employee participation to improve on the design of the safety solutions. If they had done this from the start, we wouldn’t have had these problems.”

Banks emphasizes that the positive results so far are, “A result of our activism. Our members have an employee-driven safety program. And we have subcommittees dealing with specific parts, like ergonomics. Management is only looking at the bottom line of their profits, so it’s up to us to bring these issues up and demand action. So far we’ve had some success and if management drags its feet, we have the grievance process, which is often enough to move things forward.

“It’s a constant battle, but we’re going to see this through to stop the dust and every hazard our members face,” Banks said.