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International Food Workers Show Solidarity with Chicago Nabisco Workers

Photo courtesy Eric Allix Rogers on Flickr

The International Union of Food Workers (IUF) and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) have affirmed their solidarity with employees of Mondelēz International, the maker of Nabisco products, around the world. The state of Illinois has given Nabisco/Mondelēz millions of dollars in public assistance and tax breaks. BCTGM represents some 4,000 Mondelēz workers. The company has asked for massive concessions from employees that BCTGM says would amount to lost wages and benefits of $22–$29 per hour, per employee, and would lead to hundreds of lost jobs. In July, the company moved hundreds of jobs from Chicago to Mexico, jobs that were mostly held by African American and Latino workers before the move. They are represented by BCTGM Local 300 in Chicago. Most of them are also over the age of 40, a surprisingly disproportionate targeting of experienced and valuable employees.

BCTGM International President David Durkee condemned the company's actions:

When Americans lose opportunities to provide for their families, when good, middle-class jobs become a ‘distant memory of a better time,’ we cannot and will not sit on our hands; we will take all necessary action along with our global partners. When corporate greed seeks to cut costs and take advantage of workers across all borders, we must take action. We believe that these middle-class manufacturing jobs have provided a direct path for Americans to build a secure future and these opportunities must be protected. We are grateful for the support of our IUF Brothers and Sisters and will join them in taking any and all measures necessary to protect the rights and welfare of our combined memberships.

And while workers are being asked to take massive cuts, the company's CEO is laughing all the way to the bank:

Mondelēz CEO Irene Rosenfeld took in more than $21 million in total compensation in 2014, a nearly $6 million increase from the previous year as she and her board of directors continue to attempt to drive down wages and benefits of their own employees worldwide. Over the past eight years, she alone has received about $170 million in compensation from the corporation.

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