Hundreds of Frito-Lay workers are walking picket lines in Topeka, Kansas, demanding an end to mandatory overtime and 84-hour weeks induced by an increased appetite for snack food nationwide during the pandemic.
Many of the plant’s 800-plus workers are working seven days a week and up to 12 hours a shift, getting only eight hours between the end of the work day and the new one, according to the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Local 218. A strike was called after workers at the plant voted against the company’s latest contract offer, which included a 2% wage hike this year and a 60-hour limit as to how many hours an employee could be forced to work.
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“They are forcing the current workforce to work double and triple shifts. Workers do not have enough time to see their family, do chores around the house, run errands or even get a healthy night’s sleep,” Anthony Shelton, the union’s international president, said in a statement. The union has repeatedly asked the company to hire more workers, but management has rebuffed the request, Shelton added.
Plano, Texas-based Frito-Lay declined to answer specific questions, but expressed hope the labor dispute could be resolved. “We’ve spent the last three days jointly revisiting the terms of the prior offer and have aligned on a new offer that will better address employee concerns around guaranteed days off and create additional opportunities for the union to have input into staffing and overtime,” the company stated in an email Thursday to CBS MoneyWatch. “We are urging employees to ratify this offer so they can end the strike and return to work.”