Fed to use Nabisco-Oreo campaign as start of national good jobs drive

SAN ANTONIO–The AFL-CIO will use the campaign against Nabisco’s shutdown of its Chicago Oreo cookies production line – which management moved to Mexico strictly to make higher profits – as the start of a national good jobs campaign.

In a statement issued at the federation’s Executive Council meeting in San Antonio, the fed said the campaign against Mondelez, the conglomerate that now owns Nabisco, will be the first “Solidarity Campaign” the unions undertake as a group. The campaign will start March 23.

The statement came after the Nabisco workers, who have been traveling the country, explaining what happened, met with the council behind closed doors on March 14. They were led by David Durkee, international president of their union, the Bakery, Confectionery and Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM).

Nabisco still makes Oreo cookies at some U.S. plants, but it shut the largest plant, on Chicago’s Southwest Side, after trying to impose unreasonable demands on the hundreds of Oreo production line workers there, represented by BCTGM Local 300.

Mondelez’ demands would have virtually eliminated benefits and reduced workers’ wages by 60 percent. The local offered compromises which Mondelez refused to consider.

The principle of the overall good jobs campaign is that “every worker deserves a good job and the power to determine their wages and working conditions,” the fed statement said.

“The federation will accomplish this through a new national good jobs campaign to call out corporations that ship jobs overseas, work toward renewed and expanded public investment in our schools, transportation, energy and communications systems, access to quality health care, including through Medicare and Medicaid, and a secure and dignified retirement for all workers.”

The federation’s unions “agreed to rally behind these” BCTGM “workers as a model for future good jobs solidarity campaigns. On March 23, the labor movement will launch a digital day of action, including a new digital tool that will help spread the solidarity campaign across the country. On that date one year ago, the company began laying off workers from its Chicago bakery and sending those jobs to Salinas, Mexico,” the fed added.

The AFL-CIO also said, in the same statement, that it would campaign for Congress to enact “the Miners Protection Act of 2017, which would provide essential health care benefits to retired coal miners whose companies have declared bankruptcy.”

Without that commitment, and an infusion of money from coal company revenues, the federally run fund that pays for the health care would go broke. The Mine Workers and a bipartisan group of lawmakers from Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Illinois – all traditional coal-producing states – are pushing the legislation. But some influential congressional Republicans, led by former Senate Labor Committee Chairman like Enzi, R-Wyom., who represents a non-union strip mine state, oppose the measure.

Source: PAI