“We don't feel respected,” said the workers at Frito-Lay when they went on strike because of the pay and long working hours
Instead of hourly pay hikes, recent contracts have offered workers flat-rate bonuses, Labor Notes reports, with wages barely rising for many workers. Box drop technician Monk Drapeaux-Stewart told Labor Notes that his salary had only increased 77 cents in 12 years.
“Milk has risen. Meat has risen. Everything has increased, ”another employee who has been with Frito-Lay for 30 years told KCUR. "But our wages have stayed the same."
The company complains that it thought it had reached an agreement with the union – only to find out that workers were unwilling to settle for what their leadership asked them to do. "EEach member of the union's negotiating committee, including the union president, has made an individual commitment to support the agreement and to encourage Frito-Lay staff to vote for its ratification, ”Frito-Lay said in an email to Food & Wine. And management says it will not budge: "As the union had unreservedly recommended our provisional agreement, we do not expect any further negotiations with the union in the foreseeable future."
What Frito-Lay does not understand is that the workers are the union and the workers rejected the deal and then approved a strike, 353 to 30. An estimated 80% of workers at the plant are on strike. The deal they turned down would have offered a 2% raise – only 50 cents an hour for many of them – and would not have guaranteed anything remotely reasonable schedules for workers burned out from outrageous overtime.
Frito-Lay's stagnant wages and long working hours – long, say the workers, partly because the plant was unable to retain new employees – are falling into a crisis as the company lags behind other employers moving to the Topeka region.
”Fifteen, 20 years ago, Frito-Lay had a really good reputation – all you need is a high school diploma and you have this job with good pay and benefits, ”Drapeaux-Stewart told Labor Notes. "But that's all slowly being cut away." Frito-Lay made $ 5.3 billion in profits last year.
As Andrew Christopher Reeves said: "It is time for a change and it is time for you to do something for these people. It is time they paid them a little more respect, which they deserve, which, to be honest, they have earned over the past ten years and more. "