116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Representatives of Ingredion and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 100G — now in its seventh week of a strike against the manufacturer’s Cedar Rapids facility — were asked to leave the Hotel at Kirkwood Center Tuesday morning after the two sides became heated over Ingredion officials bringing armed security professionals with them, the union said.
Mike Moore, the local’s principal and president, said in a news release sent to The Gazette that “the union views this show of intimidation as a sign of disrespect and a lack of intent to bargain in good faith.”
Kirkwood Community College has a campus-wide ban on “firearms, weapons or explosives of any kind,” according to its website.
However, Ingredion had received an exception through Kirkwood’s public safety department, said Justin Hoehn, the college’s media relations and legislative relations director.
One of the people there for the negotiations indicated to the hotel’s general manager, Jackie Bohr, that they “felt threatened,” Hoehn said. Bohr then decided to cancel the group’s room reservations.
Hoehn noted the college "is responsible for everyone’s safety on property“ — including hotel guests as well as Kirkwood students, faculty and employees.
Both sides then left the hotel.
No further meetings between the Westchester, Ill.-based manufacturer and the union have been scheduled.
In an email to The Gazette Tuesday afternoon, Becca Hary, Ingredion corporate communications director, wrote, “We have been eager to resume negotiations in order to reach a fair agreement for the benefit of all. Unfortunately, throughout this process, Ingredion employees have received repeated threats of violence — in fact, approximately 100 have been received since Aug. 1.
“The safety and security of our employees is our top priority, and in light of these circumstances, security has been present throughout negotiations. Today’s venue is one where the parties have met in the past, and we approached this meeting with the hope that progress could be made.”
Hary added that Ingredion officials “look forward to resuming negotiations as soon as possible. We have proposed alternative meeting options and stand ready to continue to bargain in good faith toward a new agreement.”
The union called a strike Aug. 1 over wages, overtime and health care benefits, among other issues.
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