11/4/07

Strike boss talks tough at Redco

Redco Foods, Inc. in Little Falls (NY) may need to do some rethinking if the union, Local 50 BCTGM, continues to picket. The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco workers and Grain Millers union at Redco Foods began their strike Thursday in an effort to make the company see what they feel could be a negative future for new and potential workers.

According to Joe Svingala, vice president of Local 50 BCTGM, the strike was a stand to protect the rights of future employees at Redco. The union has approximately 2,400 members, including those in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. There are 51 members in Local 50.

“Redco is trying to get all brand new employees to come in and work for low wages and take 25 percent of those wages for health care,” Svingala said. “They’re also taking away benefits and vacation time, and plan to take away the defined pension. The company is offering these new employees [and future ones] a 401K retirement plan, which they can’t afford because of everything else they pay for, making it a pointless offer.”

Svingala has been with the union since 1976 and has been a union officer since 1992. He said he and fellow members are trying to ease what the company is trying to do to all future employees.

“It’s too devastating for them,” Svingala said. “We’ve been negotiating since July, and there’s been no movement for new employees, nothing to protect the rights of these workers.”

Furthermore, Svingala continued, the company is only looking for a two-year contract.

“If we allow them to devastate new workers, they’ll be coming after all the current workers within 20 minutes.”

After several attempts to reach him, Redco’s Vice President of Operations Dale Wager was not available for comment at press time.

“We want to get this resolved in the shortest time possible,” Svingala said Thursday. “I would go back this afternoon if we could resolve this matter.”

(littlefallstimes.com)

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