Danny DeVito Helpfully Provides Opportunity To Talk About Striking Nabisco Workers
On Wednesday, actor and known super nice person Danny DeVito shared his support for striking Nabisco workers on Twitter, tweeting, "Support Nabisco workers striking for humane working hours, fair pay, outsourcing jobs. NO CONTRACTS NO SNACKS." It was not even sort of out of character for DeVito, who has been vocally political for years and in fact campaigned for Bernie Sanders during the 2020 Democratic primary. No one would look at DeVito's tweet and go, "Oh no! Danny DeVito's Twitter has obviously been taken over by a pro-union, anti-snack hacker!"
Except, apparently, for Twitter — which, oddly, briefly stripped him of his verification badge after the tweet.
On Wednesday, @DannyDevito expressed solidarity with striking Nabisco workers. “NO CONTRACTS NO SNACKS,” he tweete… https://t.co/n5hu3G3BmL— More Perfect Union (@More Perfect Union) 1629408745.0
He got it back, but guess what? I was already gonna be writing about the striking Nabisco workers today anyway! So thank you Danny DeVito (and Twitter, I guess) for making people want to know what that is all about. Hooray!
Last week, about 200 workers at a Nabisco factory in Portland, Oregon — members of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers union — went on strike to protest some truly shitty working conditions, like being forced to work 12 to 16 hours a day, six to seven days a week during the pandemic, a practice Nabisco's parent company Mondelez International is hoping to make permanent with terrible new contracts that establish 12-hour shifts as the norm. They were swiftly joined by workers in Aurora, Colorado, Richmond, Virginia, and Chicago, Illinois.
The workers are fighting for a better contract amid concerns that Mondelez plans to eliminate a longstanding pay structure that offered overtime pay for weekend workers, or to workers that clocked in shifts over eight hours, regardless of the day. Under the new "alternative work schedule," as one Mondelez spokesperson described it, workers would be paid a "straight time" until they hit 40 hours a week, regardless of what days those are or how long their shifts last. Workers say the new structure would cause some to lose thousands of dollars a year in pay, and the changes come at a time when many are concerned about Mondelez outsourcing jobs overseas. According to a statement released last week by the baker's union: "After years of Nabisco closing bakeries and moving thousands of BCTGM jobs to Mexico and threatening to move even more jobs to Mexico, our members are saying, 'We've had enough and we're not taking it anymore.'"
The purpose of overtime is to keep employers from making people work much more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week, but only Alaska, California, Nevada, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have mandatory overtime pay after eight hours in a shift. Overtime is particularly necessary in situations where people are working in factories or other places where they could get injured if they are tired. It is a safety concern. There is a reason they are called "suicide shifts."
The new contracts would also establish a new two-tier healthcare plan that would require new hires to pay significantly more for their healthcare plans than current workers do. The creation of two-tier systems of varying kinds are a common union-busting tactic. They allow current workers to keep the things they successfully bargained for — pay, health care, pensions, other forms of compensation — as long as new hires can be paid less, get worse health care coverage, lower pay, etc. This undermines worker solidarity and increases resentment because the new people are pissed off at the old employees for essentially selling them out. It also, naturally, undermines support for the union among new hires.
A major fear among workers is that the company will outsource their jobs to Mexico or use the fear of their jobs being outsourced to Mexico in order to force concessions from them on their contract. After the Chicago plant announced their intent to strike, BCTGM International President Anthony Shelton issued the following statement:
Nabisco has long profited from the loyalty and dedication of its U.S. workers and the exploitation of its employees in Mexico. By taking this action, Nabisco workers in all four locations are saying strong and clear: stop exporting our jobs to Mexico and end your demands for contract concessions. The BCTGM will take all appropriate action necessary in order to reach a contract settlement that treats Nabisco workers fairly and equitably.
Through generations of hard work and dedication, BCTGM members at Nabisco have earned and deserve the security of a fair union contract that preserves American jobs. Standing strong in solidarity, we will not allow the company to force concessions onto the workers.
Is Nabisco doing all of this this because they are hurting for money? Not at all. In fact, they did pretty damn well during the pandemic due to the increased demand for snacks — a three percent increase in profits. They would just like more money for themselves, please and thank you.
But they can't make money if we don't eat their damn snacks — which include Chips Ahoy!, Belvita, Oreo cookies, Ritz Crackers, Triscuits, Fig Newtons, Wheat Thins, Premium Saltines and other things that definitely have generic versions you can buy. Mondele International has also provided a helpful list of all of their brands right on their website so you know what not to eat. Because Danny DeVito is right — NO CONTRACTS NO SNACKS.
UPDATE: Rather than respond individually to comments, it is probably simpler to just write a note up here that they started making Hydrox cookies again and that you can buy them here in bulk. My mom, who feels very importantly about Hydrox being vastly superior to Oreos, says they are the same.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse