Frito-Lay Workers in Kansas Ratify Contract, End Strike

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Union officials put an end to a nearly three-week strike because of the long hours and mandatory overtime that hundreds of Frito-Lay workers said Saturday had approved a contract and many workers said they were pushing them to the point of exhaustion.

The deal, approved in a vote that a union official described as close, ends 12-hour shifts in a row, which workers at Kan’s Frito-Lay factory in Topeka call “suicide shifts.” With just an eight-hour break in between.

“The outcome of this strike was a testament to the perseverance and courage of the Frito-Lay workers in Topeka,” said Anthony Shelton, international president of the International Union of Bakers, Confectioners, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers, which represents workers who are members. Local 218, in a statement.

Workers at Local 218 said they went on strike because the company refused to raise concerns about shifts, which they said was wasting time with their families and saying they didn’t even get a full night’s sleep.

Workers said Frito-Lay could easily handle tough shifts without hurting the company’s profitability. Frito-Lay is a division of PepsiCo that recently reported an incident. big jump in revenue in beverage and snack businesses.

Paul Klemme, store manager who has worked at the Topeka factory for nine years, said he once worked for three months straight.

“I missed a lot of time when I was in high school with my kids because of the shifts and hours I worked,” she said. “Physically draining.”

Mr Klemme said the new contract gives workers one day off per week, eliminating forcing workers to work. “suicide is changing” and increasing wages. He refused to give exact figures because he said he was not authorized to give that information. Corrina Christensen, spokesperson for the international union, declined to provide additional details of the agreement or say how membership was voted on.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

Mr Klemme would have loved to see better pay increases for employees. He said some departments have not increased their salaries by more than 20 to 40 cents in the past six to eight years.

“I think it could have been better, but I think the time for people is worth it,” said Mr. Klemme.

The food and beverage giant, which is home to Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Doritos, said its net income this month rose 20.5 percent from the previous year to $19.2 billion.

Mr. Shelton said more than 600 union members had been picketing and marching in the past 20 days.

Workers at the Topeka factory “showed the world that union workers can stand up to the world’s largest food companies and claim victory for themselves, their families and their communities.”

The company had tried to push back the union’s complaints about the long shifts.

He said only 20 of Topeka’s approximately 850 employees work an average of more than 60 hours a week.

The company said its records show that 19 employees worked 84 hours in a given workweek this year, with 16 of them volunteering for overtime. The company said only three of the 19 people needed to work.

The company also said it is constantly hiring new part-time and full-time workers at Topeka. The factory hired 263 people last year and has hired 209 workers this year.

Frito-Lay employs more than 66,000 people, and according to the company, the strike is the first to take place at one of its factories in three decades.

Mr. Klemme said it was the first time workers at the factory in Topeka had gone on strike.

Of the approximately 850 manufacturing and warehouse workers who were part of the strike’s bargaining unit, about 300 continued to work throughout the strike, the company said.

Hourly wages at the factory range from $18.35 to $36.91, according to the company. Frito-Lay said his initial proposal to the union on July 1 called for a two-year contract that included a 4 percent pay increase for all job classifications during the term.

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