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Plant strikes affecting local businesses

1 year 9 months 1 week ago February 25, 2015 Feb 25, 2015 Wednesday, February 25 2015 February 25, 2015 5:29 PM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Jessica LeBlanc

DONALDSONVILLE - Business owners said their bottom lines are also being affected by a chemical plant workers strike that's in its fourth day in Norco and Convent.

Hundreds of workers went on strike at the Shell and Motiva plants there, demanding more pay and attention to safety issues. It's part of a nationwide strike of United Steelworkers affecting 15 refineries and plants across the U. S. and impacting one fifth of the nation's crude production.

In south Louisiana, gas stations a few minutes down the street from where workers marched Wednesday said when the strike started, their stream of customers stopped.

"It affect everyone around. Not just the people on strike. It affect all the businesses around," said Christine Thibodeaux, who works at Sunshine Sportsman gas station and store. She said before the strike plant workers would come and buy hot lunches and purchase items from the store.

"It was steady. Business was steady. Customers was pulling in... pulling out regularly," Thibodeaux said. "I mean we had regular customers coming in and out but now we're seeing less of them."

Thibodaux fears bad things will happen if something isn't done soon.

"I don't want to lose my job. And if they stay on strike and if the business continue to be slow, then like I said, we might have to shut our doors," said Thibodeaux.

Union leaders said safe staffing levels were the current obstacle in their negotiations with refinery operators.

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