Members of Bakery Workers Local 218 ratified a contract offer by Frito-Lay July 23, ending a strike at the company’s Topeka, Kansas, plant that had been under way since July 5.
Workers struck for wage increases and an end to forced overtime, but got only very modest improvements in the modified employer offer. Where before Frito-Lay had offered two 2% raises, now workers will get a 3% raise in year one and 1% in year two. Because of compounding, that’s a slight improvement. Wages at the plant start at $16.33 an hour and can rise to $38.42, depending on the job.
Meanwhile, on forced overtime, the new contract will guarantee workers at least one day off per week, on either the sixth or seventh day of their work week—provided they haven’t used any time off that week, including sick days, or holidays. The new agreement also eliminates the hated “suicide shifts”—when workers are forced to stay over an extra four hours after their normal eight-hour shift and then must come in four hours early before their next shift, leaving them just eight hours between shifts.
Local 218 represents about 850 employees at Frito-Lay’s Topeka plant, but only some pay dues because Kansas is a “right-to-work” state. More than 500 of them participated in the strike.
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