Steelworkers Fighting for Fairness at Braskem

Braskem, a Brazilian petrochemical company, spent $350 million to acquire Sunoco’s polypropylene business, Sunoco Chemicals, Inc., which included manufacturing facilities in La Porte, Texas; Marcus Hook, Pa.; and Neal, W.Va., as well as a facility in Philadelphia and a company research site in Pittsburgh.


The three former Sunoco plants together have the capacity to make about 2.1 billion pounds of polypropylene annually, or about 13 percent of installed U.S. polypropylene production capacity.


USW Local 721 members at the Braskem plant in Neal, W.Va., struck the company on Monday, Aug. 16, after rejecting an unacceptable company contract offer. The expired contract covered 72 Neal workers. Employees are concerned about reduced retirement benefits and higher insurance costs.


Braskem has 29 plants throughout Brazil and the United States. The company produces more than 14 billion pounds of thermoplastic resins each year.


When the strike began, USW members in Neal were been working under an existing contract, which expired June 28, until the strike began.


The Neal plant produces polypropylene, a plastic used in packaging, carpets, stationery, lab equipment and automotive parts.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-6961

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

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United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222