Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Molly has blogged before on the strike at the Motts' production facility in Williamson New York (see here, here, here, here and here). At least one of those posts gathered quite a bit of comment, including a mendacious posting from what I presume was a member of Motts management. Now this strike is beginning to take on epic proportions with national and even international (Canada) repercussions. On the one side is a corporate management that seems determined to live up (down ?) to the classic image of an evil top hatted capitalist, twirling mustache and all, with its CEO making $6.5 million a year and so "devoted" to keeping the company afloat that he was off on a "hunting trip to New Zealand" while the strike was ongoing. On the other side stands what one article in the Nation magazine describes as "gun fans, military veterans and motorcycle riders" ie a selection of ordinary people whom the "left" loves to look down on who are now carrying out the most visible example of class struggle in the USA. With, however, the support of the local community, of union members across the continent and even of some otherwise anti-union politicians this small band of workers may be the test case of whether the corporate ruling class can carry out their full program of 'peonizing' US workers.

Here's an article and appeal from the AFL-CIO Blog about this important event.
100 days of fighting the low waging of America:

For 100 days, more than 300 Mott’s workers in Williamson, N.Y., have been on strike, fighting the low-waging of America. The Dr Pepper Snapple Group, the corporate conglomerate that owns Mott’s (of apple juice and apple sauce fame) has been trying to cut their pay and benefits—even though the company reported a net income of $555 million in 2009.

Tell Dr Pepper Snapple to back off its corporate greed and treat the Mott’s workers fairly.

Dr Pepper Snapple is taking advantage of the recession and high unemployment rates in the area to beat down the workers, members of RWDSU/UFCW Local 220. A spokesman told The New York Times recently the company’s just trying to take wages down to meet “local industry standards”—in other words, to make recession-era wages the norm.

Dr Pepper Snapple is demanding wage cuts that would amount to $3,000 a year per worker, ending pensions for new hires, cutting the company’s 401(k) retirement contributions and increasing employee health care costs.

This is a 142-year-old company with a product that’s as American as you can get—a company you thought you knew and could trust. It’s a company that symbolizes everything we’re fighting for—and everything we’re fighting against: the low-waging of America.

This strike isn’t just about Williamson, N.Y. As The Times put it, “if the Mott’s workers lose this showdown, it could prompt other profitable companies to push for major labor concessions.”

If America’s economy is going to recover, we need paychecks that can fuel consumption. And if profitable companies are allowed to use the recession to drive America’s middle class out of existence, it’s unconscionable.

Don’t be silent about the low-waging of America. Support the Mott’s workers who have been walking the picket line for 100 days. Act now.

Tell Dr Pepper Snapple to back off its corporate greed and treat the Mott’s workers fairly.

Thank you for taking action for the Mott’s workers and all working families. Please forward this e-mail to at least five friends and urge them to take action, too.

In solidarity,

AFL-CIO Working Families e-Activist Network

P.S. The RWDSU Mott’s Hardship Fund has been established to help aid Mott’s workers affected by the strike. Donations to this fund will be used to help offset hardships being faced by Local 220 members as a result of their strike against the corporate greed of Mott’s/Dr. Pepper Snapple. Please consider making a contribution to the strike fund by clicking here.
Please copy and paste the following letter, and send it to Motts management at this email address:.
Dear Dr Pepper Snapple,

With record-breaking profits, your company has no justification to cut the pay and benefits of the more than 300 Mott’s workers in Williamson, N.Y. In saying you want to bring their wages down to “local industry standards,” you are trying to take advantage of the recession and high unemployment rates to lift your profits even higher.

Your workers deserve better. And so do workers at other profitable companies that might try to follow your shameful example.

Mott’s is a 142-year-old company with a product that’s as American as you can get—a company we all thought we knew and could trust. I hope you realize you are jeopardizing a well-known, well-established and respected brand. That’s a lot to throw away.

I urge you to back off your attack on the Mott’s workers’ wages and benefits and do the right thing.

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