Just Born and worker's union still at odds after labor strike

By Douglas Yu contact

- Last updated on GMT

Just Born says pension fund contributions will be unchanged. ©iStock/NoDerog
Just Born says pension fund contributions will be unchanged. ©iStock/NoDerog

Related tags: Trade union, Health care

Peeps maker Just Born alleges union members mischaracterized its willingness “to reach a fair and equitable agreement" following strike action.

The statement came after about 400 union employees went on strike at the company’s Pennsylvania plant last Wednesday over disagreements on pensions, wages and health care. The $230m confectioner behind brands such as Mike and Ike and Hot Tamales has reportedly proposed to switch from a pension plan to a 401(k).

Rejecting union’s health insurance modification plan

“Just Born proposed eliminating the workers’ pension plan, offered substandard market wage increases while increasing the workers’ share of health insurance costs. While the union proposed modifications to the health insurance plan that would have offered the company substantial savings, the company refused,”​ president of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), Hank McKay, said in a statement earlier.

Just Born did not immediately comment on why it decided to switch the pension plan, and how it might affect its workers.

Director of BCTGM, John Price, told ConfectioneryNews, a large number of the demographics at the Just Born plant are over 50 years old and questioned any proposal to cutting their pensions.

He added that Just Born employees have been working under an expired contract since June this year. But Just Born told ConfectioneryNews, even though the contract expired on June 30, it had an extension on the contract through August 31.

Just Born: Pension inputs unchanged

Just Born said in its statement that the firm's “pension proposal includes continuing to contribute to the pension fund, at the current level, for every current Just Born associate in the union. All new associates will participate in a 401(k)”.

“We offer highly competitive and above average wages to our plant associates, and our current wage increase proposal continues to keep wages highly competitive and above average,”​ the company added.

“Our healthcare proposal continues to offer the same percentage of healthcare costs our associates pay as our current plans.”

Just Born did not respond when asked if the labor strike might affect Peeps sales for Easter next year.

Related topics: Manufacturers, Candy

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2 comments

Handler-Marshmallow Mfg.

Posted by Walter Srsich,

Would the US Social Security system work if no new workers were allowed to join after a certain date? A secure pension system relies on the next generation to find it. The company knows this, and now wants to cut and run and join the Wal-Mart's of the world.

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Goldenberg contract

Posted by Debra Cassel,

Just Born did the same thing to their Goldenberg's Peanut Chews so it forced a lot of people who had enough time in to retire when they weren't ready too. The union say's you can't split the worker's up like that so you go into default the minute they hire a new worker which makes your pension be cut in half that's why everyone who could retire did. I don't know what happened to Just Born when they bought Goldenberg's they were so great with the associates I don't know what changed.

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