The employees, represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 6 (BCTWGM), have been working under contract terms that expired in June. Wages, health insurance and pensions are among employees’ concerns.
"Workers deserve to be treated fairly with reasonable wage increases and a pension that allows them to retire with dignity," Hank McKay, BCTWGM Local 6 president, told the Morning Call in a statement announcing the strike.
Union members voted to strike Sept. 2 after rejecting a contract offer that the union said proposed eliminating workers' pensions, boosting employees’ health care costs and providing unsatisfactory pay increases.
Matt Pye, Just Born v.p. of corporate affairs, said in a statement one of the main barriers to the company and the union reaching an agreement is having future employees participate in a 401k program, rather than a multi-employer pension plan.
He adds that the company remains “fully committed” to reaching an agreement that “allows (Just Born) to stay competitive and is fair and equitable for all parties.”
More than 420 of Just Born’s 600 employees belong to the union. Most work at the company’s headquarters and factory in Bethlehem, the Morning Call reports.
Just Born, a family-owned company, ranks 19th in Candy Industry's North American Sweet 60 with sales of $231 million.