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Teamsters Call Strike at Airgas in Calif., Extend Picket Lines


Press Contact: Tom Tullius Phone: (818) 601-4242

(POMONA and SAN DIEGO, Calif.) – Airgas workers who are members of Teamsters Local 848 put up a primary picket line yesterday at Airgas in Pomona, Calif. to protest the company’s violations of federal laws that protect workers’ rights. These Airgas employees supply gas to California facilities and businesses such as hospitals, nursing homes and local restaurants.

Members of Local 848 also extended the picket line to Airgas’ facility in San Diego today. All of the San Diego employees, who are members of Teamsters Local 542, refused to cross the picket line.

This is the second unfair labor practice picket at Airgas Pomona; the first occurred in October when Airgas employees struck at four Southern California locations.

 “After the unfair labor practices strike in October, Airgas illegally terminated four workers. Airgas is now being prosecuted by the federal government for the illegal terminations,” said Eric Tate, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 848 in Glendora, Calif. 

Airgas and its subsidiaries are America’s largest distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases. Airgas’ parent corporation Air Liquide [EPA: AI], based in France, is the world’s largest distributor of such gases and is a Forbes Global 2000 company.

These Airgas workers organized their union with Local 848 last year, but they do not yet have a contract.

Airgas driver Mario Quintero said, “Going on strike to protest an employer’s abuses is a human right that’s recognized in the U.S. and around the world. In France, Air Liquide would never dare to fire workers for striking. We chose to form a union so we could have dignity and a voice on the job. Treating workers this way is unacceptable.”

“An injury to one is an injury to all,” Tate said. “Under France’s Corporate Vigilance Law, Air Liquide could be sanctioned for its human rights violations in America. The French people would never allow Air Liquide to violate workers’ rights. Teamsters Local 848 will stand by our members and support their right to strike. Airgas workers deserve respect, and the company must follow the law and negotiate a contract.”