Plant workers refuse Tyson contract offer
Jan 12, 2004 12:00 PM, from staff and wire reportsThe United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union representing 470 workers on strike for nearly 11 months against Tyson Foods' Jefferson WI plant has spurned the company's latest contract offer.
The workers, who walked out February 28, 2003, over wage and benefit concessions requested by Tyson, voted 242-74 not to accept the offer.
"People know what the consequences of the actions taken today are, and they're informed and educated, and they still made that decision based on a subpar contract," said Mike Rice, president of the UFCW Local 538.
Health and pension issues remain unresolved, and Tyson's contract offer doesn't guarantee some jobs and doesn't let all striking employees return at once.
The strike came after a Tyson contract proposal for a four-year wage freeze; establishment of a lower-level wage scale for new workers; elimination of profit-sharing; cuts in vacations, sick leave, and pension benefits; and a larger bill for less health care coverage.
Springdale AR-based Tyson, supplier of beef, chicken and pork, hired replacement workers to continue production at the Jefferson site. The plant produces pepperoni and other processed meat items.