(Submitted by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union)
Despite a surging stock market, working families continue to bear the brunt of misguided corporate policies that place the needs of wealthy investors over those of workers and the communities in which they reside.
Jobs that supported generations of families and allowed American communities to thrive have been shipped to low-wage nations that allow multinational companies to exploit cheap labor and weak regulatory regimes.
For more than two years, the MTD-affiliated Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) has been challenging this corporate model in its campaign with one of the largest snack food companies in the world: Nabisco, a division of Mondelez International.
Through decades of changing corporate ownership, the company’s executive leadership began a corporate strategy of closing and drastically downsizing unionized plants and moving that production to Mexico or to non-union co-manufacturers. Over the past five years, Mondelez has closed bakeries in Philadelphia, Toronto and Montreal, costing more than a thousand BCTGM members their livelihoods.
When the $30 billion company announced in July 2015 that it would be laying off 600 workers at the iconic Chicago bakery and sending that production to a new $400 million state-of-the-art bakery in Mexico, the BCTGM chose to launch a far-reaching campaign to fight this company and its anti-worker policies.
With the active support of the labor movement, including the MTD, and progressive organizations throughout the United States, the BCTGM launched a Check the Label campaign to educate consumers about the importance of not purchasing Made in Mexico Nabisco products and supporting American-made Nabisco brands.
The BCTGM then launched the Nabisco 600 speaking tour, featuring laid off workers from the Chicago bakery telling their personal stories about losing their good, middle-class jobs. These workers have spoken in front of union conventions, meetings, and conferences. In the fall of 2016, the Nabisco 600 speakers began a Campus Tour educating students and faculty at colleges and universities across the country about the impact of outsourcing, trade deals gone bad, corporate greed and worker exploitation. The campaign then teamed with Interfaith Worker Justice to produce a damning report: “Breaking faith: Outsourcing and the Damage Done to Our Communities”.
On March 14, 2017, the AFL-CIO Executive Council – citing the high-profile brands of the company, the current political environment that has shed light on the inequities of unfair trade deals, including NAFTA, and the company’s blatant attack on unionized workers – voted unanimously to designate the BCTGM’s Nabisco campaign as its first Solidarity campaign.
The BCTGM’s campaign has achieved extraordinary success to date, hitting the company hard at the cash register. The foundation of this success is labor solidarity. Ultimate victory for the BCTGM in this campaign will be a victory for the entire labor movement, and workers at all multi-national corporations that seek to outsource good, middle-class union jobs.
The MTD, its affiliates and its Port Maritime Councils, reaffirm our unwavering support for our Sisters and Brothers of the BCTGM in its campaign against Nabisco-Mondelez.
Approved 2018 MTD Executive Board Meeting