Highly profitable Nabisco laid off 277 of its Chicago workers March 23, with more layoffs to come. Mondelēz, owner of the Nabisco brand, told the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco and Grain Millers (BCTGM) union last May that it was investing $130 million in a new production line in Mexico, but would consider Chicago instead if union workers there agreed to $46 million a year in concessions. The union refused, and the company moved to shift production to Mexico.
BCTGM has responded with a boycott, and is calling on U.S. consumers to check the labels, and not to buy Nabisco products made in Mexico.
To promote that message to labor organizations and community groups, BCTGM plans to send out “boycott education teams” made up of two or three laid-off workers. They’ll focus on large urban areas around the country, beginning in the Chicago area. In mid-April, one team will start in Washington state and travel south, and another will start in Atlanta and travel north.
“Nabisco’s plans to lay off American workers, put their jobs in Mexico and then return the products to the United States to sell is the ultimate insult to both the American worker and consumer,” said BCTGM President David Durkee in a press statement.
BCTGM’s national contract covering 2,000 Nabisco workers expired Feb. 29, 2016. When the two sides last met March 11, BCGTM campaign coordinator Ron Baker says the company proposed to terminate its defined benefit pension for all workers — in what it called its “last best and final” offer. They’ll meet again April 7-8.