Return to Office Hits a Snag: Young Resisters


The New York Times 26 July, 2021 - 09:49am 74 views

Why is Frito Lay on strike?

The workers in Local 218 said they went on strike because the company had refused to address their concerns about the shifts, which they said took away time with their families and did not even allow enough time to get a full night's sleep. ... The New York TimesFrito-Lay Workers in Kansas Ratify Contract, Ending Strike

Read full article at The New York Times

Union Members voting on latest offer from Frito Lay

KSNT News 26 July, 2021 - 03:10pm

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Union members are voting on the latest negotiation offer from Frito-Lay after nearly three weeks of failed debate.

Union leaders say the new offer from the company is better than where they started, but now it’s up to employees to decide if it’s enough to end the strike.

Employees like Brent Hall, an employee with the company since 2005.

He says he’s at his boiling point with negotiations.

“They’re making people’s lives miserable in that place and outside of that place,” BCTGM 218 president Hall said.

Friday’s vote on the latest offer from Frito-Lay will decide if the strike will continue, or if they’ve finally reached an agreement on years of built-up grievances.

Jason Davis, a representative from the international union says there are 850 union members working at the Topeka plant in charge of making that decision.

According to Davis included in this latest offer is one day off every week for employees with specific guidelines.

IBEW 226 Business Manager Robert Bausch said that doesn’t sound like too much to ask the billion-dollar corporation for.

“We all put our heart and soul into what we do and for these guys not to spend their time with their families that’s a big concern for me and I’m not even on there,” Bausch said.

As for Brent, he says he does not feel 100 percent about either way Friday’s vote could go but he hopes Frito-Lay leaders are listening to the employees in Topeka, and continue working to treat them better.

“We gotta look at the situation and be able to treat people like people and not like a dollar figure,” Hall said.

After voting closes Friday night, votes will be counted and results released to employees first.

An announcement could come sometime late Sunday night.

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TOPEKA (KSNT) - The Shawnee County Fair is in town once again this year through July 25.

The fair takes place every year at the end of July and attracts community members from across the region.

Union members voted Friday on the latest tentative agreement from the company and union leaders followed by an overnight tally. The vote determined the workers accepted the latest negotiated offer, which means their strike is now over in Topeka.

*Heat Advisory* – Noon – 8:00pm Saturday – Brown, Douglas, Jackson, Jefferson, Marshall, Nemaha, Pottawatomie, Shawnee, and Wabaunsee counties.

Indiana PepsiCo workers strike continues as union shuts down Frito-Lay workers strike in Kansas

WSWS 26 July, 2021 - 03:10pm

More than 100 PepsiCo drivers, merchandisers and delivery workers in Munster, Indiana, have been on strike for more than two weeks against the company’s demands for sharp increases in their out-of-pocket health care expenses, forced overtime and stagnant pay.

The strike is continuing as the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union (BCTGM) shuts down the strike by hundreds of Frito-Lay workers in Topeka, Kansas. Although Frito-Lay is a subsidiary of PepsiCo, neither the BCTGM nor the Teamsters, who represent the workers in Munster, have made any attempt to unite their struggles nor call upon support from the broader workforce of the multinational food conglomerate.

While PepsiCo made over $70 billion in net revenue in 2020 (up from $39 billion in 2007), it is demanding a significant increase in out-of-pocket health care expenses from $14 a week to over $80 a week by 2025. Teamsters Local 142 had previously accepted a five-year pay freeze in exchange for no increases to workers’ health care costs. Many drivers also have variable costs on the road that eat into their income, such as the cost of gas and food, which have increased sharply this year.

Like millions of other workers, the Munster PepsiCo workers have had to work through the dangerous conditions of the pandemic, bottling Pepsi beverages inside the facility and delivering them to the shelves of grocery stores such as Walmart and Meyer. According to a report by the United Food and Commercial Workers, over 91,400 food and grocery store workers have been infected by COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

The Teamsters local, which covers two bargaining units at the Munster facility, is scabbing on its own membership by forcing the other bargaining unit, which voted separately to ratify its own contract, to remain on the job, leaving the plant operational. The workers who are on strike rejected their own agreement, which had been endorsed by the Teamsters, initiating the strike.

The rejection of the union-recommended contract proposal by the rank-and-file PepsiCo workers is part of a growing rebellion of the working class against union-backed concessions.

Workers at Volvo in Dublin, Virginia, went on strike for five weeks in June and July, voting down union-backed contracts three consecutive times. The United Auto Workers was able to force an end to the strike only by making workers vote again on a contract they had just rejected. The union claimed the contract had passed narrowly, while ignoring workers’ demands for a recount.

Elsewhere in the Midwest, workers at packaging company Amcor in Terre Haute, Indiana, voted down two contracts backed by the SEIU-affiliated Workers United union. The union responded by unilaterally imposing a contract without even the pretense of another vote.

Workers at the Frito-Lay facility (a PepsiCo subsidiary) in Topeka began their strike after voting down four previous contracts brought to them by the BCTGM. The union claims that a fifth contract was passed by the narrowest of margins last Friday, after forcing workers to vote without any information or time to study the contract.

The workers went on strike to oppose poverty wages, forced overtime, grueling work schedules called “suicide shifts” and horrendous working conditions, which the BCTGM union facilitated.

There is enormous opposition by Frito-Lay workers to the new contract. The new contract includes wage increases of 3 percent in the first year and 1 percent in the second, for an identical four percent increase over the life of the contract as the previous deal. With inflation currently at over 5 percent, this meager pay increase amounts to a significant pay cut.

The new deal also allows the company to force employees to work 72 hours a week, with only one “guaranteed” day off. At the same time, the BCTGM will be further integrated with management through the creation of a six-person “labor-management” committee.

A driver for Frito-Lay who is not covered by the contract told the WSWS, “I feel for the employees. Union leaders are making over $200,000 and workers are making $105 a week. Something is wrong with that.”

Frito-Lay and other workers took to social media to denounce the deal. “For a lot of us the fight is not over and will be even harder once we do go back to work,” one worker said on Facebook. “We all wanted change and it was heartbreaking for me to see all the faces and disappointment knowing it was not a ‘good’ contract but one a lot of us felt forced to take or risk losing your job over. Not an easy decision. We have received so much love and support and encouragement and I hope everyone knows we didn’t want to let them down. We will be going back to work and will continue the fight from inside.”

Stephanie, a wife of a Frito-Lay worker in Topeka, denounced the sellout of the strike on social media. “So the Frito-Lay strike is over! What does this mean for my family? To be honest I’m terrified the conditions my husband will be returning to will be worse than before! They are coming back to a greedy company who has lost so much production in the past three weeks, so the overtime won’t change. Yes, he is promised one day off a week as long as he doesn’t miss any hours for appointments etc. He is now going back to a plant that has a COVID-19 outbreak.”

Nichole said, “Only one day off a week and a 4 percent raise after 9 years of no raises? This doesn’t seem like a good deal. If people are working 84 hours a week you can hire a whole other shift.”

Jen noted, “I’m so upset for them. I personally feel their union reps failed them on this. Then to be bullied to return to shitty conditions cause their jobs were on the line is completely asinine.”

Another worker added, “I’m sure union higher-ups/reps got a good deal for themselves behind closed doors.” He added, the “union just sold their people out. The only people getting rich in unions is union management.” The worker added, the “union missed the boat on COLA raises. Getting roughly a $1/hr raise over two years won’t keep up with inflation.”

PepsiCo and Frito-Lay workers can break through the unions’ sabotage of their struggles by forming their own independent rank-and-file committee, following the example set by the courageous fight of the Volvo workers.

By forming such organizations, completely independent of the unions, workers can begin to link up with PepsiCo workers across the world to coordinate a joint struggle against poverty wages and sweatshop working conditions.

Union members to return to work at Frito Lay come Monday

KAKE 25 July, 2021 - 03:47am

TOPEKA (KSNT)– After nearly three weeks of striking, Frito-Lay’s unionized employees will return to work on July 26 at 7 a.m.

Members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) Union Local 218 are the ones who voted on July 23 whether or not they agreed with the terms of the new contract. The majority of the members did agree, which is why the strike is now over.

The contract between Frito Lay and the BCTGM Union offers a four percent wage increase to employees and nobody can be forced to work seven days a week, so everyone is guaranteed a day off.

This new term also eliminates suicide or “squeeze shifts” where employees are only off the clock for eight hours before returning back to work. It’s good news for the employees, but union leaders said the work is not finished just yet.

“There’s going to be some stuff that we have to do after this contract starts in because we are still short people and it’s going to be a while to get some people hired, Brad Schmidt, Vice President for the Midwest region of BCTGM union, said.

Schmidt said they will meet with Frito Lay again in a year to touch base and go over the current contract. He is also very thankful for all of the support they received from the community throughout the process.

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JOPLIN, MO - Prices for propane typically go down during the summer, but that's not the case this year.

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“There are a lot of controversial issues where both sides talk about what they support – pro-life and pro-choice on abortion, for example,” says head researcher Rhia Catapano, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, in a university release. “It’s very rare that we see positions that primarily frame themselves in terms of what they oppose.”

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