Members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) working at Nabisco plants throughout the United States take great pride in producing the iconic products that have been a part of millions of Americans’ lives for more than 50 years.
On Aug. 24, NPR Chicago broadcast a special story detailing the recent announcement by Mondelēz International that it is shipping 600 union jobs--half of the plant’s workforce--to Mexico. The program included interviews with BCTGM Local 300 members at the Chicago bakery. The report also described how the city worked with Mondelēz the last time the company threatened to move production outside of the United States by providing $300 million in tax breaks to complete infrastructure work at the bakery.
The unwavering strength and courage of 80 workers at a peanut-shelling plant in Alabama prevailed in their fight for dignity and respect through Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union representation.
Workers were regularly subjected to harassment, favoritism, prejudice and unfair work rules from management at the Golden Peanut plant in Headland, Ala.
The five-member panel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, D.C., reaffirmed that the Kellogg Co. illegally locked out more than 220 members of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) Local 252G at the company’s Memphis, Tenn., cereal plant from Oct. 22, 2013, to Aug. 11, 2014. The May 7 NLRB decision directed the company to make all employees whole for any loss of earnings and benefits they suffered as a result of the unlawful lockout.
This is how hope turns into despair. More than a year since they voted to form a union, Panera workers in Michigan are still waiting. The franchisee that owns the Panera Bread stores in the region refused to recognize the BCTGM as the official representative of the bakers and refused to meet to bargain a first contract.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found that Panera broke the law by refusing to bargain, and ordered the company to bargain with the bakers. But the company appealed that ruling to the D.C. Circuit Court, which has put the case on hold because of another ruling about President Obama’s three recess appointments to the NLRB. So the workers are still waiting for justice.
The following story was sent to us by a retired BCTGM Local 24 member. It is a true account of a dedicated bakery worker who grew up in and with Interstate Bakeries Corp. (IBC), in its various forms. Like his father before him, he spent his career working hard and supporting his family with good wages and the protection of a union contract. And like his father, he watched as the company was mismanaged and began the spiral of demise.