Interfaith Worker Justice releases report on Mondelēz decision to shift production to Mexico

Nonprofit faith-labor group Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) released a scathing report Dec. 12 about Mondelēz-Nabisco’s  decision to shift production to Mexico and lay off hundreds of workers in Chicago and other U.S. cities. The report is entitled “Breaking Faith: Outsourcing and the Damage Done to our Communities.” To produce it, IWJ staff met and documented the stories of Nabisco bakery workers in Chicago; Fair Lawn, New Jersey; Portland, Oregon; Richmond, Virginia; and Atlanta, Georgia. They also traveled to a Nabisco plant in Mexico.

In 2015, Mondelēz told the BCTGM union it would spend $130 million to install new production lines at its new bakery Mexico, and close nine of its 16 production lines in Chicago. Nabisco has been making some products at a plant in Monterrey, Mexico, since 2003. In 2014, it opened a $350 million plant outside of Monterrey, while closing plants in Philadelphia and Toronto.

The immense new facility sits in an industrial park in the desert, an hour from Monterrey city limits and 120 miles from the U.S. Mexican border. IWJ said workers are bused to and from the bakery, which is surrounded by fencing, and earn just a little over a dollar an hour.

“Mondelēz-Nabisco has come to treat its workers just the same way they would the other commodities that go into Oreos, such as cocoa, sugar, flour, and so on,” IWJ says in the report. “We found this to be one of the clearest demonstrations of how the company has broken faith with its workers, and by extension … with consumers.”

Mondelēz-Nabisco also broke faith with the communities that supported it, IWJ said: downsizing after taking in over $91 million in public subsidies going back as far as 1993.

Why devastate workers and communities? To pay obscene compensation to those making the decisions, IWJ concluded.  Former Mondelēz-Nabisco CEO Irene Rosenfeld made more than $185 million in the last nine years and is leaving the company with a $35 million personal pension, $50 million severance and over $70 million in additional stock options. Incoming CEO Dirk Van de Put stands to make $55 million in his first year.

MORE: Read the full report here.

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