Profitable Company Trying to Cut Workers' Wages
WILLIAMSON, N.Y., April 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Over 300 members of Local 220 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, UFCW, voted to authorize a strike if no agreement can be reached with Mott's for workers at the company's Williamson, NY facility. The vote, which was 250-5, gives authorization for the union to call a strike if the company continues to engage in unfair labor practices and refuses to bargain.
"We may have no choice," said RWDSU Local 220 President Mike Leberth. "All we want is a fair contract but the company refuses to even talk to us."
"We want to reach an agreement with Mott's," said RWDSU Representative Ron Duncan. "We stand ready to bargain but the company has taken this position that we should just shut up and accept whatever they are offering. It's really disgraceful that they want to take away from their employees at a time when the company is doing well."
"The employees of Mott's deserve better," said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. "The company should be working with us to resolve whatever issues there may be. But from the beginning they came to the table looking for drastic cuts to workers' wages and pension even though the company is very profitable. There is no economic reason, no justification, for taking money away from the workers. None. They are simply trying to take advantage of the bad economy and high unemployment in the area."
Mott's LLP is a subsidiary of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG). Last year alone DPSG earned $555 million in profits.
"Mott's told us we were simply making too much," said Leberth. "They said they know they are profitable. I guess they figure they can put their hands in our pockets and nobody will care."
"These are hardworking people, decent people, and what the company is trying to do will cause a lot of hardship," said Appelbaum. "That they won't even try and work this out is inexcusable. They may give us no choice but to strike."
Despite Mott's aggressive stance at the bargaining table the union was trying to reach an agreement that would protect workers' wages, health coverage and other benefits. The company made an offer on Tuesday, April 13, 2010, that the union brought to the membership for a vote. That offer was rejected by a vote of 272-18 and the union sought to continue bargaining. The company refused and even threatened to cut workers' wages if their "final" offer was not accepted. The union has filed unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board over the company's conduct.
"The company has violated the National Labor Relations Act and we are confident that the board will find in our favor," said Duncan.
The RWDSU represent 100,000 members in the United States and Canada and is affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers.
SOURCE Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union