116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Ingredion, in a full-page advertisement in Monday's Gazette, spoke to what it called its ongoing willingness to reach an agreement with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 100G, which has been on strike against the multinational ingredient maker’s Cedar Rapids operation since Aug. 1.
The “open letter” ad said the Westchester, Ill.-based manufacturer is sticking to its “commitment to being a good corporate citizen in the Cedar Rapids community … (and it) has strived to be the best possible steward of this facility since acquiring it in 2015” from Penford Corp.
“It is with the same constructive spirit that Ingredion has approached our contract negotiations with the local BCTGM chapter that represents our employees in Cedar Rapids,” the advertisement continued. “From the start, our goal has been to reach an agreement that provides very competitive wages, comprehensive benefits and improved working conditions.”
It added it is “committed to reaching a fair agreement as soon as possible.”
Ingredion said in its ad it “stands ready” to continue talks. Local BCTGM 100G President and Principal Officer Mike Moore told The Gazette the local and the corporation spoke Monday about restarting discussions and have another call scheduled for Thursday.
Becca Hary, Ingredion corporate communications director, when asked about the advertisement, responded in an email to The Gazette on Monday that, “We felt it was important to communicate to the Cedar Rapids community.”
Its most recent proposal, the corporation said in the ad, included:
- Increased pay, with “guaranteed annual increases” of 3.5 percent to 7.4 percent “for all employees”
- “New growth opportunities” for advancement and “meaningful” hourly wage boosts
- A more comprehensive health insurance plan, increases in paid time off and a doubling of scheduled days off work.
The local union’s Moore said Monday Ingredion isn’t “telling the full story.”
He said the health care plan under the corporation’s “last, best offer” could be considered “comprehensive” for about 80 percent of the Cedar Rapids plant’s union workers. The other 20 percent should be moved up to the next pay tier, to “full wages,” but would be need to wait another four years despite already having put in the years.
In terms of health care benefits, Moore said Ingredion’s latest proposal wouldn’t be “locked in for the life of the contract,” as the union had urged. Instead, the corporation has offered “seed money” that would cover a few months.
He also cited the local’s concern about the manufacturer’s plan to eliminate five union laboratory positions of those who do routine testing.
“We’re still at it,” Moore said of the strike, now in its second month.
The facility has 127 hourly union employees and 46 salaried non-union employees, Hary said.
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