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General Mills union says no strike, at least for now

'Productive negotiations' keep workers at the Cedar Rapids plant

Roger Grobstich, vice president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Local 110, speaks Wednesday during a news conference at in Cedar Rapids. Union members has just rejected a contract offer from General Mills. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
Roger Grobstich, vice president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Local 110, speaks Wednesday during a news conference at in Cedar Rapids. Union members has just rejected a contract offer from General Mills. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A day after hundreds of its members overwhelmingly rejected a contract offer from General Mills and moved closer to going on strike, the workers’ union announced late Thursday that “productive negotiations” have started again.

“Conversation will continue into Friday in an effort to avoid a strike slated for next week.” the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union’s Local 110 said in a statement. “The union is citing productive conversations and movement on the contract with the company as a reason to keep workers at the facility for now.”

The local represents more than 500 of the roughly 700 workers at the plant, which is at 4800 Edgewood Rd. SW. General Mills has been in Cedar Rapids for almost 50 years. The local plant produces cereal, fruit snacks and desserts.

“Tonight we can report that productive conversations have resumed at General Mills and that together we have avoided a potential strike at this time,” said union Vice President Roger Grobstich in a statement. “We formed this union earlier this year to stop the bleed out of long held necessary benefits. After our initial conversations with General Mills, in the wake of voting down the bad contract this week, we are confident we have movement on our top four issues with the contract and that real negotiations can resume.”

In an earlier statement, General Mills said it had met with the employees several times “to reach our common goal of a ratified contract” and would do so again.

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