Why are Nabisco workers striking? Twitter gives Danny DeVito back his blue tick after solidarity tweet
Nabisco workers are on strike asking parent company Mondelez International to reverse proposed cuts to their salary and health care coverage
More than 200 workers at the Nabisco bakery in Northeast Portland are on strike over a new contract, news outlets reported on Thursday, August 19. Additionally, actor Danny DeVito's verified status disappeared earlier today after he tweeted in support of a Nabisco employees' strike.
According to the labor advocacy group More Perfect Union, DeVito's Twitter verification was abruptly revoked on Thursday, and he acknowledged his involuntary dethronement to them. More Perfect Union also hinted that DeVito's de-verification may have been caused by a tweet he sent on Wednesday. Before being thrown over the slope of Mt. Olympus, the actor expressed sympathy for the Nabisco workers' strike, calling for "humane working hours, fair compensation, and an end to outsourcing employment."
Before losing his verified status, DeVito wrote, "Support Nabisco workers striking for humane working hours, fair pay, outsourcing jobs. NO CONTRACTS, NO SNACKS." But hours later, Twitter fans rejoiced when the 'Romancing the Stone' actor got back his blue tick. "DANNY DEVITO HAS HIS VERIFICATION BACK!! WORKERS 1 JACK 0!' said a fan. "Unverified and then REverifid all within 24 hours someone at Twitter is not getting any #NabiscoStrike snacks for a week," said another. Here's why Nabisco workers have been striking.
Support Nabisco workers striking for humane working hours, fair pay, outsourcing jobs.— Danny DeVito (@DannyDeVito) August 18, 2021
NO CONTRACTS NO SNACKS
DANNY DEVITO HAS HIS VERIFICATION BACK!!— Hayden LaCelle (@HaydenLaCelleWA) August 20, 2021
WORKERS 1 JACK 0 pic.twitter.com/4rr7ha66Rr
Why are Nabisco workers striking?
Hundreds of workers at the snack food producer in the United States went on strike this week, asking that parent company Mondelez International reverse proposed cuts to their salary and health care coverage, Mashable reported. The Nabisco bakery produces major cookie and cracker brands like Oreo, Chips Ahoy!, and Premium Saltine crackers.
The work stoppage has moved to Nabisco sites in Richmond, Virginia (at another manufacturing bakery) and Aurora, Colorado (at a distribution center) after the group, about 400 strong, originally walked out on August 10, as more workers join the fight against their parent firm. Around 200 members of the International Union Local 364 of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers are also picketing outside the plant in Portland, waving posters that read, "Don't let this cookie crumble! Support the unions!” and “Portland is a union town!” elicited honks of approval from passing motorists on NE Columbia Boulevard, according to Eater.
Workers are battling for a better contract because they are concerned that Mondelez may dismantle a long-standing pay system that provided overtime compensation for weekend workers or those who worked shifts longer than eight hours on any given day. Workers would be paid a "straight time" until they reached 40 hours a week under the new "alternative work plan," as one Mondelez spokesperson put it, regardless of what days they worked or how long their shifts lasted.
Day 7 on the Nabisco strike line. Sharon (with me), who has 53 years at the company, was part of the 1969 strike (the last one) where they stayed out for 53 days and got a 53 cent raise ! Go out to visit (100 NE Columbia), bring encouragement; honor their courage & solidarity pic.twitter.com/aqWvtmSvgP— Jamie Partridge (@jamiep72061) August 16, 2021
"This fight is about maintaining what we already have," Mike Burlingham, vice president of BCTGM Local 364 in Portland, said to TODAY. "During the pandemic, we all were putting in a lot of hours, demand was higher, people were at home, and the snack food industry did phenomenally well. Mondelez made record profits and they want to thank us by closing two of the U.S. bakeries (last month) and telling the rest of us we have to take concessions, what kind of thanks is that? We make them a lot of money. It's very disheartening. How is that supposed to make us feel?"
After the previous contract with Mondelez expired in May, the union is currently negotiating a new four-year contract with the company, the website added. Mondelez has suggested converting from eight-hour shifts five days a week to 12-hour shifts three or four days a week, without overtime, and with increased required weekend work without additional pay, according to union representatives.
According to Mondelez spokesperson Laurie Guzzinati, the alternate work patterns would only affect a limited number of high-demand production lines and would not influence overtime pay for the bulk of workers. "To encourage the right behaviors," she added, "and if you're assigned to shifts, you're working those shifts."
"Our goal has been — and continues to be — to bargain in good faith with the BCTGM leadership across our U.S. bakeries and sales distribution facilities to reach new contracts that continue to provide our employees with good wages and competitive benefits, including quality, affordable healthcare, and company-sponsored Enhanced Thrift Investment 401(k) Plan, while also taking steps to modernize some contract aspects which were written several decades ago," Mondelez said in a detailed statement.
After announcing the closures in February, Nabisco shut down long-running plants in Atlanta and Fair Lawn, New Jersey, last month. In 2018, Mondelez also phased out pensions in favor of 401(k) programs for employees.