Workers who have been on strike since last summer at an ingredient and starch manufacturer in Cedar Rapids will be voting on a potential contract this weekend.
The contract’s details were slowly hammered out since around 116 workers at Ingredion—organized with the Bakers, Confectionary, Tobacco and Grain Millers (BCTGM) Local 100-G union—began striking Aug. 1, 2022.
“I’m exhausted, to tell you the truth,” said 100-G President Mike Moore.
Negotiations were slow in starting in the first months after the strike began, and faced setbacks after Ingredion negotiators brought armed guards to one meeting.
But pressure had been building: US Sen. Bernie Sanders lent his voice to the pressure campaign on Ingredion CEO James Zallie in an open letter last Friday. “The time has come for Ingredion to bargain in good faith,” he wrote, “instead of trying to discipline or even fire striking workers for exercising their constitutional right to strike.”
“My personal opinion, as a member: I think people are ready and it’s going to pass,” Moore said. “People are tired and ready to get back to work.”
Still, he wasn’t ready to declare victory, saying it was up to his roughly 104 members (10 had found other jobs and two retired since the strike began).
“It’s a 50-50 chance,” he said.
He said he was getting the final details and was hoping to have the full tentative agreement printed and given to members by Friday evening, with plans to vote on whether to accept it happening Sunday.
State Rep. Sami Scheetz of Cedar Rapids praised the tentative deal, but only if it was “fair for the workers involved,” he said in a tweet.
Just got word that there is a tentative agreement between @BCTGM workers and Ingredion in Cedar Rapids.
If this agreement is fair for the workers involved + the contract is approved, this is great news!
I will continue to stand in #solidarity with the workers. #UnionStrong 💪🏻
— Sami Scheetz (@SamiScheetz) January 19, 2023
by Amie Rivers
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