BCTGM: Mondelez pits workforces against each other

Kensington / MD. (bctgm) Officials of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) met last week with local and international representatives of Mondelez International Inc. to discuss investment plans related to the company´s Chicago bakery located at South Kedzie Avenue.

Mondelez essentially told the BCTGM that the workers had to come up with 46 million USD in annual savings at the Chicago facility for the company or it would take the 130 million USD planned investment to its Salinas, Mexico bakery. And, even with the 46 million USD savings there would still be severe job cuts for workers at the Chicago bakery.

More than 1’000 workers at the plant are represented by BCTGM Local 300. The Chicago plant, which dates to the 1950s, is the company´s largest U.S. bakery. Union members operate the bakery´s 16 lines producing such brands as Oreo, Chips Ahoy, Nutter Butter, Honey Maid, belVita, Premium, Ritz and Wheat Thins.

«This company has no idea nor does it care to know of the decades of contributions made by generations of employees and their families here in Chicago», says BCTGM International Vice President Jethro Head, a native of Chicago. «It is deeply offensive to our members that a Chicago-based company would pit its good, hard-working and loyal Chicago workforce against low-wage workers in another country», he adds.

«Mondelez representatives came to this meeting knowing the answers they would receive», notes BCTGM International Strategic Campaign Coordinator Ron Baker. «They are talking about a 130 million USD investment but they have already invested more than 500 million USD in the new Salinas, Mexico plant where workers make less than 2.00 USD per hour and have little to no benefits», adds Baker.

«BCTGM members cannot compete with 2.00 USD per hour wages – nor should they. We will continue to defend our workers and their standard of living», concludes Baker.

The company´s contract with BCTGM Local 300 expires on February 28, 2016. The BCTGM represents approximately 4’000 Mondelez workers in manufacturing facilities, flour mills and distribution centers across North America.

Mondelez International Inc. is a 35 billion USD multi-national confectionery, food and beverage conglomerate, employing around 107’000 people around the world. It comprises the global snack and food brands of the former Kraft Foods Incorporated. Mondelez CEO Irene Rosenfeld took in more than 21 million USD in total compensation in 2014.