The Earthgrains Company (NYSE: EGR) announced today that workers at five production plants went on strike Tuesday, bringing to six the number of company plants with work stoppages.

The company continues to operate five of the six plants, while the sixth market continues to be served with products baked at the company's other regional bakeries. The immediate needs of customers and consumers in all markets are continuing to be met.

Contracts with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) were not in effect at the five new strike locations, and employees decided to walk off the job before negotiations had produced final contract offers. Earthgrains was making every effort to reach timely, fair and equitable settlements.

The company was offering a competitive economic package for the region that compared favorably to a Midwest regional package that the BCTGM has endorsed.

The bakeries affected by strikes are:
  • The Memphis, Tenn., bread and bun bakery where 95 production workers are striking out of a total of 175 plant and local sales employees. The previous contract expired Aug. 15.


  • Chattanooga, Tenn., bread and bun bakery where 120 production workers are striking out of a total of 200 plant and local sales employees. The previous contract expired July 29.


  • The Mobile, Ala., bread and bun bakery where 140 production employees are striking out of a total of 200 plant and local sales employees. The company and union were negotiating the plant's first contract.


  • The Atlanta, Ga., bread and bun bakery where 200 production employees are striking out of 500 plant and zone sales employees. The previous contract expired Aug. 2.


  • The Forest Park, Ga., refrigerated-dough plant where 330 production employees are striking.
On Saturday, some 680 BCTGM production workers began a strike at the 900-employee Fort Payne, Ala., bakery. Operation of key production lines has been under way since the strike began. Employees voted to strike without the chance to consider a contract offer submitted by the company. Union officials refused to accept the company's final offer and did not present the proposal to members for a vote.

Earthgrains sent a letter Tuesday to the BCTGM International Union reaffirming the company's commitment to reaching agreements in all cases and to resuming talks at anytime and anyplace. There are no issues involved that cannot be resolved in good-faith bargaining, and employees deserve to consider proposals that reflect Earthgrains' regional economic offer.

Earthgrains has additional contracts that expire in the coming weeks and months, and additional work stoppages are a possibility if the union refuses to resume contract talks. In all instances, the company will make every effort to continue to serve customers with bakery products.

Earthgrains is the second-largest bread and bakery products producer in the United States, operating 64 bakeries in the South, Southeast, Midwest, Upper Midwest, Southwest and West. Earthgrains operates two refrigerated-dough plants in the United States.

Earthgrains also has European bakery operations based in Spain and refrigerated-dough operations based in France.