Workers on strike at Tyson plant in Wisconsin

Feb. 28, 2003
Workers at the Tyson Foods plant in Jefferson WI set up picket lines February 28 after overwhelmingly rejecting a company offer that would cut wages and
Workers at the Tyson Foods plant in Jefferson WI set up picket lines February 28 after overwhelmingly rejecting a company offer that would cut wages and risk the loss of medical treatment for workers’ families.

The Jefferson plant is part of Tyson’s prepared foods division, which posted a 4.2% profit for first-quarter 2003.

The company’s contract offer seeks:

•A pay cut of 73 cents an hour, on average, as well as a wage freeze for four years.

•An increase in health care coverage rates up to $40 a week, as well as higher deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses .

•A freeze on pension benefits for current workers and elimination of pension benefits for new hires.

•A 50% reduction in sick leave.

•A two-week cut in vacation benefits.

Contract negotiations have taken place over the past eight months. In January, the company gave the union a 30-day notice saying it would terminate the current extended contract at midnight February 25.

UFCW Local 538 has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, charging the company with bargaining in bad faith.

The Jefferson plant, employing 470 workers, produces pepperoni for Tombstone, DiGiorno, Domino’s, and Jack’s pizzas, as well as hams, ring bologna, and hot dogs.

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