Top Canadian Officials Question Health and Safety of Mott's Products in Wake of Worker Strike

Jun 14, 2010, 10:59 ET from Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union


OTTAWA, June 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In separate letters to Larry D. Young, President and CEO of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc., (NYSE: DPS) and Carole Swan, President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), leading Canadian officials expressed serious concerns regarding the health and safety risks of Mott's beverages in light of the company's use of untrained, inexperienced temporary workers to replace its highly-skilled workforce currently on strike.  Over 300 long-term unionized workers of the Mott's manufacturing plant in Williamson, NY went on strike May 23rd as a result of unfair labor practices committed by corporate executives in their efforts to impose drastic and unprecedented wage and benefit cuts.  The workers, members of RWDSU Local 220, voted to strike after the company imposed terms of its contract offer which included a $1.50/hour wage reduction and elimination of pension benefits. There have been no negotiations since the strike started, and no talks are planned at this time.

Jack Layton, Member of Parliament and the Leader of Canada's New Democratic Party, wrote to Plano, TX-based Dr. Pepper Snapple Group President & CEO Larry Young to express his product safety concerns as the company continues to use replacement workers at the Williamson plant.  M.P. Layton said, "Without the experience and training of permanent and long-term employees, we feel the safety of the products produced at this facility could be compromised."  Layton urged Mr. Young to "resolve the dispute with RWDSU Local 220 at the bargaining table, and to enter those discussion in good faith."

In a letter addressed to Carole Swan, President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Malcolm Allen, Member of Parliament for Welland and Deputy Critic Food Security, wrote to "express concerns about a potential food safety risk in a classic Canadian drink."  Mott's Clamato juice is the key ingredient of the popular Canadian summer season cocktail named the Bloody Caesar.  M.P. Allen pointed out that Mott's decision to use "untrained and inexperienced temporary workers" creates a safety risk and breach of health standards that "could have a negative impact on the quality and safety" of products shipped from the plant.  M.P. Allen requested the CFIA "take extra care" when inspecting Mott's products from the Williamson plant as the summer season is in "full swing."

Entering their fourth week on the picket line, the members of RWDSU Local 220 reaffirmed their bold decision to go out on strike in the wake of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group's illegal bargaining tactics that have violated U.S. labor laws and forced the union to file unfair labor practice charges.   Enjoying record profits, an increase in market share and skyrocketing stock prices, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group has publicly acknowledged the company wanted to take advantage of high unemployment and an insecure economy in the area.  In offering the union negotiating committee wage and pension reductions, the company told the union that the workers should think of themselves as a "commodity" like "soybeans or oil."    

Mike LeBerth, RWDSU Local 220 president said of the continuing strike, "One day longer, one day stronger.  We will continue to reject corporate greed over the welfare of working families for as long as it takes.  The Mott's workers deserve better, and so do their consumers."

For more information on the Mott's strike, visit  For copies of the letter, go to

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union represents 100,000 members in the U.S. and Canada. The RWDSU is affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

SOURCE Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union