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Union members plan to strike on Monday morning after weekend voting sessions

Union members picketing in front of Frito Lay in Topeka over wage, benefits and working...
Union members picketing in front of Frito Lay in Topeka over wage, benefits and working conditions.
Published: Jul. 3, 2021 at 2:15 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Frito Lay’s union workers will go on strike Monday morning.

Members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Local 218 voted to reject a tentative agreement their negotiators reached with the company Thursday night.

The two-year agreement addressed forced overtime and included a two-percent pay raise each year.

Local 218′s president, Brent Hall says some union members plan to look for other employment, Now my reaction to tonight’s vote was that the company does not understand that this is a democratic vote, this is a democracy not an oligarchy.”

“We can’t tell them how to vote. they’re soon going to lose all their employees. even when we’re on strike. that’s how we’re going to stick it out. our striking individuals is going to get other jobs,while we’re on strike here at Frito Lay,” Hall added.

Last Saturday, union members voted 353-to-30 to strike starting Monday. Friday and Saturday was the deciding factor whether the union would move forward with the strike.

“There’s a lot of mixed reactions. It affects seniority, it affects pay scales. I can’t say that it’s leaning one way or the other,” said BCTGM Local 218 Business Manager Mark Benaka Saturday afternoon.

More than 300 members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers union local 218 voted by noon on Saturday whether they agree with the tentative contract with Frito Lay that was agreed upon on Thursday.

Benaka said the two-year contract limits the amount of forced overtime per week. Where employees will work no more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period and solidifies a cap on a total number of hours per week. Along with a 2% raise each of the two years.

“Which has been an issue for going on 8 years no,” he said. “Common practice is, unfortunately, we call it a ‘suicide shift’ where an employee only has 8 hours off between two 12 hour shifts. With this latest proposal, that goes by the wayside.”

Several BCTGM Local 218 members turned out to the Super 8 Motel on SW. Topeka Boulevard Friday and Saturday. Benaka said it’s been a good turnout because of their new two-day vote operations.

“Not quite what it was last week for the strike vote, but it has been a very good turnout. I’m lifted up by the number of people that are coming out and voicing their opinion and asking questions, looking at the total packet and casting their ballot.”

He said they want to have their pay, benefits and work conditions up to par with other corporations in the area.

“That’s all we’re trying to do. We’ve constantly been pushed to the bottom of the rung on the ladder for the last 8 or 9 years with wages. Virtually every industry around here with similar jobs has surpassed us on wages and employees out there are to the point where they’re not going to take it anymore.”

Frito Lay told 13 News in a statement this week, the company was hopeful that after nine months of negotiations that they would reach a mutual agreement and a strike would not occur. The final vote is to be cast by 6 p.m.

Members of BCTGM plan to strike Monday morning at 12:01 AM.

In a previous report, 13 NEWS incorrectly reported that the “president of BCTGM Local 218 said Frito Lay did not want to agree on the union’s terms, so they decided to move forward with the strike.”

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