What Happened When 700 New York Chemical Plant Workers Walked Off Their Jobs

Seven-hundred workers walked out of the Momentive chemical plant in upstate New York one week before Donald Trump was elected president.


They went on strike for more than 100 days after negotiations over a new contract stalled. A new short film called Picket Line, produced by Firelight Media and Field of Vision, documents their days and nights spent on the picket line, and the conversations they had there about the future of their jobs, and of unions.

Back in February, Politico called the strike “an early test” for Trump.

“Will he weigh in for the striking workers who helped vote him into office, or the executives who seem to have his ear?” Politico asked.

It’s a question that the workers interviewed in the film directed by Cecilia Aldarondo had on their minds, too.

“The first year I vote, I vote for Donald Trump,” one person interviewed explained. “And then they’re supposed to be bringing back jobs into America and keeping benefits and health care great, and here we are: 702 union members have been out of work for almost 100 days for the things that he’s supposed to be fighting for.”


This film is part of a series from the “Our 100 Days” initiative from Firelight Media and Field of Vision, which explore threats to U.S. democracy and the stories of its most vulnerable communities in the current political climate. New episodes will be released weekly on Thursdays, followed by Twitter chats at 1pm ET under the hashtag #Our100Days.