USA: Laborers' Striking Over Seven Day Work Week at Chicago Food Plant
Approximately 280 members of Laborers', Local 681 went on strike at 3:00 A.M. on July 10, 2000 against Appetizers And, Inc., a large Chicago employer which provides appetizers and other food products to major Chicago area hotels and restaurants as well as to large grocery stores. The primary issues were a move by the company to institute a seven day per week work schedule which would cause severe disruption with child care and family obligations of the predominantly Hispanic and female workforce. The union workers were also adamant against the move by the company to eliminate seniority pay for long-term workers.Randy Dalton, Business Manager of Laborers', Local 681 stated that: "In this modern urban society, our members deserve to be paid so that they can continue to live in Chicago. The wage rates proposed by the company barely exceed the expected minimum wage proposals under consideration in Congress. To not reward more senior employees is ludicrous. These moves by the company are unfair to our hard-working members."Thomas Penning, Business Representative for Laborers', Local 681 elaborated on the work schedule issue. "Family values count big with organized labor. We are going to stand behind our members to ensure that child care arrangements, family obligations and religious practices are not sacrificed to the whim of the employer."Since the strike began, union supporters have been driving by the company plant located at 2555 North Elston in Chicago honking their horns in support of this group of hard working Laborers.Laborers', Local 681 is represented by the Chicago law firm of Hogan, Marren & McCahill, Ltd.
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