National Labor Relations Board may file complaint against Penford owner Ingredion

Board finds 'Sufficient evidence' of labor law violations

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The National Labor Relations Board has found “sufficient evidence” to issue a complaint against Ingredion Inc., owner of Penford Products in Cedar Rapids, alleging violations of federal law in its contract negotiations with the union at the plant.

The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) Local 100G filed a complaint with the NLRB alleging multiple violations of the National Labor Relations Act. The violations included engaging in “surface bargaining” or going through the process without an intention of reaching agreement, unlawfully declaring an impasse in negotiations, and unlawfully imposing terms and conditions of employment on members of the union.

More than 150 union members voted in August to reject Ingredion’s last contract offer and have continued to work without a new agreement. The last contract between Ingredion and BCTGM Local 100G expired on July 31.

Marlin Osthus, director of the NLRB Region 18 office in Minneapolis, said a settlement has been proposed to Ingredion, which will have a set period of time to respond. If the company fails to respond or rejects the settlement, Osthus said the NLRB will issue a complaint.

“When that happens, the matter will go before an administrative law judge,” Osthus said. “The company will have an opportunity to refute the charges and the union will be able to present its evidence supporting the charges.

“It can take as much as six months for the administrative law judge to issue a ruling.”

BCTGM Local 100G issued a news release Wednesday regarding the NLRB’s decision.

“We are pleased with the NLRB’s ruling in our favor on all charges and look forward to negotiating in good faith to resolve this dispute,” said incoming Local 100G President Seth Marling.

Claire Regan, a spokeswoman for Ingredion, said in an emailed statement that the company does not comment on pending legal proceedings, including NLRB determinations.

“We have made a competitive and comprehensive offer to the union, and we look forward to continued negotiations with them,” Regan said. “Our goal is to reach a fair and equitable conclusion as quickly as possible.

“In the meantime, we appreciate the ongoing contributions of the employees at the Cedar Rapids facility in recent months.”

Penford Products, 1001 First St. SW, produces industrial starches and ethanol. Ingredion, based in Westchester, Ill., acquired Penford Products in late 2014 for $340 million.

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