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Strikers at Frito-Lay reflect on strike following company contract offer

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 7:05 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A copy of Frito-Lay’s contract offer to striking union members of the local baker’s union obtained by 13 NEWS details what the company believes addresses members’ concerns.

According to the offer, all employees will be guaranteed their sixth or seventh day of the workweek off unless the employee has already taken any form of time off in the workweek.

The document said time off includes but is not limited to calling off, refusing mandatory overtime, vacation of less than a full week, sick day holiday, unpaid funeral leave, any other type of personal leave whether paid or unpaid.

The offer said “suicide shifts”, or 12-hour shifts with only an eight-hour break in between them, will end no more than 30 days from the date the contract is approved.

Guaranteed days off will go into effect in the same time frame.

According to the offer, Frito-Lay will increase wages across all jobs by 3 percent effective September 13, 2020. Wages will increase by one percent on September 12, 2021.

The document said Frito-Lay withdrew its proposal that employees cannot be required to work more than 60 hours in a workweek.

The union would also withdraw a grievance over Frito-Lay’s use of temporary/contract labor.

The offer also states the company and the Bakery, Confectionery, Grain Millers and Tobacco Workers (BCTGM) Local 218 will form a six-person labor-management committee to make recommendations on staffing and overtime.

Each party will choose three members for the committee. and will meet quarterly.

The committee will make recommendations but does not have decision-making authority.

The contract would expire on September 10, 2022.

13 NEWS was told earlier this week that Frito-Lay’s Vice President of Global Labor Relations, Carolyn Fisher, would interview when contract negotiations wrapped.

Instead, the company referred us to a statement made earlier Thursday urging BCTGM to accept the offer.

Union members feeling effects of 18 days of strike

Michael Rose said “it’s been extremely stressful” being on the picket line.

“It’s been hard mentally,” he described.

“A lot of times you come out here not knowing how long it’s going to be, and not having a job you can go to every day and as you get deeper into it you gotta start seeing what your options are outside of this.”

He said he has learned a lot of life lessons on the line.

“You learn a lot, how to stand up for yourself and as a team out here, to accomplish what you deserve, self-respect you gotta let these billion-dollar corporations know what you’re worth more than just a few pennies and a dollar that’s for sure.”

He hopes he can return to a better working environment.

“I’m ready to go back to a better situation than we’ve been into and that’s what we’re out here for is to better everything.”

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