USA: Earthgrains announces contract ratification ending work stoppage
The Earthgrains Company (NYSE: EGR) announced today that employees at its Fort Payne, Ala., bakery ratified a new three-year labor contract, ending a strike by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union that began Aug. 26.Following the vote, picket lines were removed at Fort Payne and were scheduled to be removed at 26 other Earthgrains bakeries. Re-staffing at some of the bakeries will begin as early as this weekend."We'd like to welcome these employees back to the Earthgrains team," Earthgrains Chairman and CEO Barry H. Beracha said. "We are ready to rededicate ourselves to delivering superior customer service and providing consumers with the highest quality and variety of bread, buns and bagels."The Fort Payne contract has an average annual wage-and-benefit increase of 3.9 percent over the three-year term, including an added paid holiday and increased pension. The Fort Payne contract will also serve as the Southeast region pattern agreement that will be used to negotiate contracts for bakeries in Atlanta and Memphis, Chattanooga, and Nashville, Tenn. Workers at the Earthgrains bakery in Mobile, Ala., were scheduled to take a ratification vote today on a separate contract.In addition to these bakeries, picket lines were scheduled to come down at bakeries in Owensboro and Louisville, Ky.; Chicago and Rockford, Ill.; Des Moines and Dubuque, Iowa; Meridian, Miss.; Dallas and Paris, Texas; Oakland, Stockton, Sacramento and Fresno, Calif.; Milwaukee; Oklahoma City; Denver and Grand Junction, Colo.; Wichita, Kan.; Springfield, Mo.; La Crosse, Wisc.; and Forest Park, Ga.
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