116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids City Council is unanimously calling for Ingredion managers and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 100G to “bargain in good faith” and bring an end to the union’s strike against the multinational ingredient maker.
The strike began Aug. 1.
In a copy of the guest column provided to The Gazette on Wednesday, the nine-member council writes, “There are no winners in a protracted labor strike,” as it encouraged the union and company to “sit down together and bargain in good faith.”
“Labor strikes hit at the heart of a community,” the guest column, to be published in the Thursday Gazette, states. “Families suffer, customers are lost, long-term damage to the mental health of workers and their families occur and long-term damage to a business and its brand are the result. … Put aside your differences and negotiate professionally and ethically to do what is in the best interest of our community, and that is to get back to work.”
The sticking points between the union and Ingredion are primarily health care benefits, wages and overtime pay, and Ingredion’s plan to eliminate five union laboratory positions.
The facility has 127 hourly union employees and 46 salaried non-union employees, according to Becca Hary, Ingredion corporate communications director.
Ingredion stated in a full-page advertisement in Monday’s Gazette it “stands ready” to continue talks.
The company is standing by 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., the ad continued.
Mike Moore, president of the striking local, told The Gazette the union and the corporation have a call scheduled for Thursday about restarting discussions, after which he hopes to have a better idea when negotiations will resume.
“The union is committed to getting a fair and livable contract,” Moore said. “We look forward to sitting down with the company again.”
The council wrote that a strong industrial sector and strong labor unions help Iowa’s second-largest city thrive, especially when they help the community in the toughest of times, such as COVID-19, flooding and the 2020 derecho.
In times like these, according to the letter, the community cannot afford for people to be out of work.
“One paycheck missed is one paycheck too many,” the council stated. “We believe in both parties and your ability to put an end to this strike that has already lasted too long. Our community and the City Council are counting on you.”
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