Danville-Based Viscofan, Union Approve Three-Year Contract
By Jeff Bossert
Workers at Danville-based Viscofan, S.A. have approved a three-year contract, about two weeks after employees had threatened to go on strike.
A vote count was not disclosed, but United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 686 Spokesman Evan Yeats said better than 60-percent of the plant’s roughly 225 employees approved the contract over the weekend.
Viscofan makes chemical-based casings for meat products. Early this month, workers threatened a work stoppage over what they called exposure to dangerous chemicals and poor scheduling of shifts.
Yeats said the contract includes more money for personal protective equipment, and testing for safe levels of chemicals like hydrogen sulfide.
"Testing of employees for exposure to those gases to make sure that folks don’t have medical problems," he said. "There’s better language on hours and rotations to make ensure that people have a safe work environment and safe resting abilities.”
The President of UFCW Local 686, Neva Alexander, said in a press release the union didn’t get everything it wanted, but he said the union should be proud of the contract.
"Viscofan knows that we'll stand together and stand up for what is right here in Illinois," he said.
Viscofan's headquarters are in Spain. Company executives have not commented on the contract talks or the new agreement.