CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Some 200 members of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Local 100G and supporters picketed and rallied here Aug. 5, the fifth day of their strike against Ingredion bosses.
“The company’s offer increases workers’ health care premium more than the wage increase they propose. They want to eliminate five union jobs in the lab department. They also want to eliminate time and a half for more than eight hours,” Local President Mike Moore told this Militant worker-correspondent.
Ingredion makes sweeteners, starches, nutrition ingredients and biomaterials used in products from foods and beverages to paper and pharmaceuticals. It employs 12,000 workers worldwide.
Chris Eby with 30 years seniority said, “We have 122 union members. One-hundred percent voted against the company’s proposals at our union meeting and 96% voted to strike.”
Several local unions sent delegations to the expanded picket, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Teamsters; International Association of Machinists; Retail, Warehouse and Department Store Union; United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners; and SMART rail union.
A number of strikers said the bosses are bringing in busloads of scabs to the plant every day.
“The company’s offer included us having to work 14 days straight, and 12-hour days,” striker Delmar Jellison said. “This would destroy family life. Parents wouldn’t be able to raise their kids.”
Striker Chad Watson has eight months seniority. “Those like me who were hired after 2014 are paid less than those hired before — $4.50 less,” he said. “This two-tier setup divides us.”
Speakers at the rally included Moore, who denounced the 12-hour day proposal; Rick Moyle from the Hawkeye Labor Council; Jesse Case from the Teamsters; and Peter Hird, secretary-treasurer of the Iowa state AFL-CIO.
Contributions and messages of support can be sent to BCTGM Local 100G, 500 J St. SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.