No Contract, No Snacks
The Nabisco strike and boycott enters its third week
Since August 10th, Nabisco workers have been on strike. At all five of the union plants in the United States, the workers have walked the picket line to fight back against the regressive cuts that the company is trying to make. While the company is bringing in record profits, they are demanding givebacks from the workers and are threatening to move jobs to a non-union plant in Ohio and Mexico if they don’t get their way.
According to the workers, one sticking point in the negotiations is over healthcare. The company wants to institute a two-tiered system that requires new hires to pay for some of their healthcare costs, but the union opposes that. The union argues that over the last few contracts they have willingly given up raises to protect their 100% employer-funded healthcare, meaning that a lot of the rising healthcare costs have already been paid for by the workers forgoing raises. The company is also trying to get rid of overtime which would allow them to force 12-hour shifts and weekend work onto the workers at their flat pay rate. This increased workload for less pay comes as many workers say they are already working seven days a week to keep up with the rising demand for Nabisco snacks and the loss of over 1,000 workers at three plants that the company closed in the last year. According to one worker, if this happens it could result in $30,000 in lost wages per person.
“They’re doing well, we’re losing all the way around,” said Local 358 President Keith Bragg. “They shut down two plants this year, they’re cutting overtime, they’re making profits, but we lost half of our union membership. How is it that we’re doing well?”
With the strike going on for three weeks, reports are that the company is getting desperate. Although they are publicly saying that there has been no disruption in production, More Perfect Union is reporting that workers have heard that the company is reaching out to the 1,000 former Nabisco members who worked in three plants that closed in the last year. The company is asking these workers to cross the picket line and return to work to get production back on track. In the meantime, managers and retired workers are filling in to keep the plants open.
Nabisco is also facing a potential supply shortage after union railroad workers are reportedly refusing to deliver flour and supplies to the factory while the strike is going on. Railroad Workers United tweeted out the following statement in support of the Nabisco workers:
No contract. No snacks.
Flour and sugar stays on tracks. https://t.co/F7g00htw1H
— Railroad Workers United (@railroadworkers) August 27, 2021
The strike at Nabisco is the first one in 52 years and comes just a month after BCTGM workers in Kansas went on strike at Frito-Lays. While the workers haven’t struck in over five decades, tensions have been brewing for years as Nabisco and their parent company Mondelez just shut down the production of some Oreo cookie facilities and sent the jobs to Mexico.
With no end in sight for the strike, BCTGM is asking for the help of everyone in the labor movement. If you are near one of their plants, consider joining a picket line. Everyone can also help by joining the boycott of Nabisco products. A full list of products to avoid buying can be found here. Support these workers and let Nabisco know that none of their products will enter your house until the strike is over.