September 14, 2010

Mott's workers see victory in settlement of four-month strike

Source: NYSUT Communications

After a bitter 16-week strike, the union representing the 300 workers at a Mott's apple juice plant in Wayne County reached an agreement with the multinational Dr. Pepper Snapple Corporation.

Hundreds of NYSUT members from dozens of local unions had marched in support of the striking workers the past four months at the Mott's plant in Williamson, on the shores of Lake Ontario

The strike drew national attention and support because the employer made more than $550 million in profits last year while it tried to force the workers to take wage cuts and other concessions.

The new agreement brings workers a $1,000 signing bonus. Workers will pay 20 percent of health care costs, the company 80 percent. Newly hired workers will have 401(k) plans, not pensions.

The national president of the workers' union, Stuart Applebaum, told the New York Times, "I think it's a victory. We secured the wages, we secured the pensions and we secured the workers' jobs."

NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer Lee Cutler met with striking workers outside the plant during the lengthy walkout.

"Our locals in that area deserve great credit for their support activities," he said. "Having those workers return to the job with a decent contract and their dignity in place helps bring some economic security back to those communities."