Oreo Bakers Union, Chicago Snack-Maker Mondelez Begin Contract Talks Amid Company’s Move Of Manufacturing To Mexico To “Increase Profit Margins”
(CHICAGO) - Labor negotiations between Mondelez International, which owns the Nabisco Plant on Chicago's Southwest Side, and its largest Union at the plant - the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers (BCTGM) - are set to begin today (Tuesday, February 23rd) amid anticipated layoffs and the Union's ongoing efforts to prevent them.
Last summer, global snack-maker Mondelez announced plans to lay off 600 of its 1,200 Workers at the Chicago Bakery where Oreos and other snacks have been made for decades. The BCTGM, which represents most of the Workers who would be laid off, has fought those cuts and claims they discriminate against a workforce that's largely minority and over the age of 40.
So far, the BCTGM has declined to engage in negotiations with Deerfield-based Mondelez over a shutdown package in advance of Labor Contract Negotiations that cover 2,400 Employees in Chicago and seven other locations. The eight separate contracts expire on February 29th.
Mondelez has negotiated terms of the layoffs with the plant's other two Unions - the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) and the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE).
Meanwhile, the Bakers Union has filed a lawsuit and a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in recent weeks in opposition to the layoffs.
Last month, 277 Workers at the Chicago bakery received the 60-day layoff notice required by state law. The remaining cuts are expected later this year.
In laying off half of its Chicago Workforce, Mondelez is moving some operations to a new facility in Salinas, Mexico - a facility that's considered important to increasing profit margins for Mondelez in North America. Mondelez would save about $46 million per year by installing the so-called "lines of the future" in the Mexico facility rather than the Chicago bakery, executives have said.
Mondelez CEO Brian Gladden recently told analysts at the annual Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference that the Salinas plant will be key to the company's plans to improve the bottom line. The plant opened in late 2014 and increased production in the second half of 2015. "As production volumes continue to build, we expect Salinas to ‘increasingly contribute’ to ‘further (profit) margin expansion’ in North America," he said.
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