Cincinnati Airgas Workers' Strike Ends After 1 Day

The union says the 24-hour strike was a message to Airgas and Air Liquide's management regarding supposed violations of labor laws, and that it expects progress when negotiations resume April 5.

Airgas workers and union members returned to work in Cincinnai on March 11, ending a 24-hour strike.

The drivers and plant operations workers, members of Teamsters Local 100 in Cincinnati, voted unanimously on March 1 to authorize a strike to protest what the group says are Airgas' violations of United States and international labor laws. The workers contract with Airgas expired on Nov. 30, 2015.

The group didn't specify the length of its strike when it announced it March 1, but it turned out to be a one-day event.

"Yesterday's strike by members of Teamsters Local 100 was a message to Airgas and Air Liquide's management that their American workers will not tolerate violations of labor laws or their human rights," said Sam Bucalo, Teamsters Local 100 secretary-treasurer. "We demand that Air Liquide direct Airgas management to stop the attacks on their dedicated and loyal American workers."

In the group's March 1 press release announcing the strike, workers voiced their opinions on Airgas' contract proposals. That came one week after employees and union members protested at Air Liquide's U.S. headquarters in Houston, where Airgas shareholders approved Air Liquide's $10.3 billion acquisition of Airgas.

"I'm proud of Local 100 Teamsters. Every one of its Airgas members stood up to international Goliath Air Liquide on that picket line yesterday and declared, 'Stop the attacks!'" said Keith Gleason, Teamsters Tankhaul Division Director in a release March 11. "The ball is in Airgas' court now. We expect the company to stop violating the law, and that when negotiations resume April 5, They'll drop what they termed their 'throwaway proposals' and get down to the business of negotiating in good faith."

Airgas was No. 9 on Industrial Distribution's 2015 Big 50 List.

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