Business

General Mills union could call for strike next week in Cedar Rapids

Union will vote Wednesday

General Mills cereals are displayed on a kitchen counter. (Reuters)
General Mills cereals are displayed on a kitchen counter. (Reuters)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Local 110 will vote Wednesday on whether to call a strike at General Mills’ Cedar Rapids manufacturing facility for as early as next week.

The union represents some 520 workers at the Cedar Rapids facility, at 4800 Edgewood Road SW. The bargaining unit members perform production, sanitation and maintenance work, according to a news release from the union.

“General Mills has been a proud employer in the Cedar Rapids community for nearly 50 years providing great careers, benefits and competitive pay,” Rob Litt, corporate communications director for Golden Valley, Minn., foods maker, said in an email Friday.

“General Mills and the RWDSU have met on many occasions. We provided a final offer at the union’s request on Oct. 31. We respect our employee’s ability to strike, but we hope they choose to ratify this offer.”

Officials with General Mills in Cedar Rapids could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

General Mills and the Local had been negotiating since January, when the Cedar Rapids workers joined the union.

Chelsea Connor, RWDSU communication director in New York, said the Local’s objections center on four issues in the most recent offer — proposed scheduling changes, “negligible” wage increases, “a road map for more” subcontracting at the facility and no maintenance of benefits.

No “maintenance” would mean General Mills could proposed changes over the course of the contract.

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“Presenting a ‘last, best and final’ offer with countless loopholes that can harm workers is no contract offer at all,” said Roger Grobstich, RWDSU vice president.

“We hope that General Mills will rethink this empty contract and come back to the table so we can ensure they are part of the continuance of good paying full-time jobs in Cedar Rapids for many years to come.”

Comments: (319) 398-5873; michaelchevy.castranova@thegazette.com

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