US: Union, Dr Pepper Snapple Group urged to renegotiate
DPSG said it had negotiated in good faith with the union
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has urged the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Local 220 and Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG) to restart negotiations in a bid to settle a dispute over wages.
The plea by Cuomo on Friday (25 June), is in response to an ongoing strike by workers of DPSG's Mott’s manufacturing plan in Williamson, New York.
It is understood around 300 staff stopped work at the plant on 24 May as a result of plans to impose what the union has described as “drastic and unprecedented wage and benefit cuts”.
The soft drinks maker said it plans to implement a US$1.50 per hour salary cut and a pension freeze on current employees in a bid to offer a package “more consistent with local and industry standards”.
In a letter on Friday, Cuomo urged the two to return to negotiations.
“It is of the utmost importance that Dr Pepper Snapple comes back to the negotiating table, bargains in good faith and reaches a fair and equitable solution for the workers, the company and the state," Cuomo wrote.
However, in a statement on the same day, DPSG said it had negotiated in good faith with its workers’ union on a new agreement over staff salaries.
“DPS workers in Williamson enjoy significantly higher wages than the typical manufacturing employee in Western New York,” the firm said. “Local Mott's employees were making an average of $21 an hour - about 50% higher than the Rochester average. And during the previous three years, wages increased more than 10%.”
DPSG said it has negotiated with the union on a new agreement in 22 sessions, some of which were federally mediated.
“The union contends that a profitable company shouldn't seek concessions from its workers,” DPSG said. “This argument ignores the fact that, as a public company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group has a fiduciary responsibility to operate in the best interests of all of its constituents, recognising that a profitable business attracts investment, generates jobs and builds communities.”
The firm said its Williamson plant will continue to operate with temporary help and other company employees.
Click here to view the full letter.
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