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Quaker Oats, local union agree to new contract with wage increases

The Quaker Oats sign at the company’s plant in Cedar Rapids. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
The Quaker Oats sign at the company’s plant in Cedar Rapids. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Quaker Oats and processing plant workers with Local 110 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union tentatively have agreed to a contract that would lock in annual wage increases.

The plant’s nearly 700 workers, who handle production at the facility, will vote Thursday on the four-year contract, for potential ratification that evening.

Members of the negotiations committee are strongly recommending workers approve the contract and said in a Tuesday news release they expect it will be “overwhelmingly ratified.”

“We have built a positive working relationship with Quaker Oats over the years that has lifted up the hard work our members do every day. Today’s tentative agreement is proof of that,” said Roger Grobstich, RWDSU’s vice president.

“The bargaining committee feels this is a strong contract that will support hundreds of Cedar Rapids families over the next four years. It’s nice to see one of Cedar Rapids’ top employers recognizing their workers’ skill and impact on their company in a substantial way through this agreement.”

The proposed contract includes annual general hourly wage increases, amounting to 10 percent over its four-year term, plus a signing bonus for workers.

RWDSU’s release also mentions “numerous improvements” to contract language geared toward helping workers “on the job and with work-life balance.”

Quaker Oats representatives did not immediately return requests for comment.

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RWDSU also is representing some 520 employees at General Mills’ Cedar Rapids manufacturing facility. The union late last week cited several issues in a company final offer, including subcontracting work and no contractual maintenance of benefits.

The union said the facility’s production, sanitation and maintenance workers will vote on whether to call for a strike Wednesday.

Comments: (319) 398-8366; thomas.friestad@thegazette.com

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