Nabisco Workers Strike
The company is demanding givebacks and threatening to send jobs to Mexico
Nabisco workers in Portland Oregon, Colorado, and Virginia have all gone on strike to protest the company’s decision to move more jobs out of the country and their demand that the union provides more concessions in contract negotiations while they are making record profits.
The strike began on August 10th when Portland workers announced they were going on strike. It then spread to the Aurora Colorado plant who went on strike on August 12th and the Richmond Virginia plant which walked out on August 16th. The workers say that they are tired of Nabisco and their parent company Mondelez’s relentless outsourcing of jobs to Mexico.
The union that represents the plants, BCTGM, has been fighting this outsourcing for years after Mondelez decided to move some Oreo cookie manufacturing to Mexico. Previous closings of a factory in Chicago and Philadelphia sent about 900 jobs to a factory in Salinas, Mexico. Since then, the union has been asking consumers to check the labels of their cookies to make sure they are only buying ones that are made in the United States with union labor.
“Earlier today, members of Local 358 at the Nabisco Bakery in Richmond joined their Brothers and Sisters in Portland, Ore., and Aurora, Col. in striking Nabisco,” said BCTGM International President Anthony Shelton In all three locations, our courageous members are speaking with one clear, strong voice. They are telling Nabisco to put an end to the outsourcing of jobs to Mexico and get off the ridiculous demand for contract concessions at a time when the company is making record profits. BCTGM members across this Union and across the country are coming together in solidarity with our striking Brothers and Sisters to take a stand against Nabisco’s shameful and destructive disregard for workers, their families, and the communities in which they live.”
Workers on the picket line in Portland told KATU, that other than outsourcing a major concern is that the company is trying to force a non-traditional workweek on the members. Currently when people work on Saturdays or Sunday’s they are paid overtime, but the company wants to make these regular workdays. “Going to an alternative workweek would have people working the weekends on straight time. The company just wants to avoid paying the overtime. It's all about the money," said Cameron Taylor, business agent for Local 364.
According to the 4th quarter filings from Mondelez, the company’s revenue increased by 2.8% in 2020 to $26.6 billion. "2020 was a successful year for Mondelēz ... Our categories were resilient ... We made meaningful progress with our strategic agenda in 2020, continuing to increase investment in brands and capabilities, simplifying our portfolio, expanding into adjacent categories and making acquisitions in high growth areas of snacking. ... We enter 2021 in a strong position financially," said Dirk Van de Put, chairman and CEO, in a statement. The company projected a 3% increase in 2021.
The strikes come a little over a month after the company cut their union workforce by closing their plant in Fairlawn, New Jersey, and Atlanta, Georgia, and firing about 1,000 union workers. This work has since been shifted to a new plant in Mexico as well as a non-union bakery in McComb, Ohio that employs 1,200 workers, although the company denies the claim that any jobs are being sent to Mexico after the latest closings.
This is the second strike this summer for BTCGM. In July, Frito-Lays workers in Topeka, Kansas went on strike. They were able to win a fair contract that they voted to ratify at the end of July.