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Strike Threat at JBS Beef Plant

17 October 2013

US - A strike is looming at the JBS beef processing plant in Greely Colorado.

A total of 3,000 workers, members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 union are preparing to take action because of a failure to reach an agreement over cuts to healthcare benefits.

The union said that despite record-breaking profits the company is demanding a reduction in benefits and the union cites corporate greed for creating a potential work stoppage.

UFCW Local 7 has been in negotiations with Brazilian-owned JBS meat packer since 1 August and the Union agreed to a one month extension to 20 October to avoid a labour-management dispute but it claims that many fundamental issues remain unresolved.

The union said the company is demanding unwarranted cuts to employees’ healthcare benefits which include:

  • Elimination of healthcare coverage for spouses
  • Increasing deductibles from $1,800 to $3,200 a year
  • Increases in healthcare premiums paid by employees, and
  • The right to change the terms of employee healthcare benefits arbitrarily

UFCW Local 7 said that if it accepted the company’s proposal it would effectively give JBS the right to increase costs to employees and reduce benefits without talking to the union.

The union added that the company’s demands also include subcontracting out some Union jobs and a pay raise of just 20 cents.

Local 7 President, Kim Cordova referred to company-proposed healthcare cuts as “unconscionable for Local 7 Members who work in grueling and often dangerous working conditions.”

She added asking workers to take reductions in their healthcare benefits is a slap in the face for workers who have generated record-breaking profits for this Brazilian-based company.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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