Union Wants Cities to Dunk Mexican-Made Oreos

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By Jaclyn Diaz

Workers in Boston and Los Angeles city hall hankering for Oreo cookies might have to look beyond the office vending machine if a resolution by the Bakers union is adopted by their city councils.

The Bakery, Confectionery, and Tobacco Workers are asking city councils in 13 locations across the U.S. to pass a “No Buy Nabisco” resolution, Ron Baker, the union’s strategic campaign coordinator, told Bloomberg BNA May 18.

Under the resolution, the cities would stop purchasing Mexican-made Nabisco products with taxpayer dollars. The proposal would prevent the sale of those products on city property, by the city, through vendors operating on city property, and at city-sponsored events on or off government property.

The ban, if approved, would likely include cafeterias and vending machines at public schools, public universities and correctional facilities, Baker said, naming just a few city-run locations that could be affected. That means no Oreos, Honey Grahams, Ritz Crackers, Premiums, BelVita or Chips Ahoy snacks, which are products largely made in Nabisco’s Salinas, Mexico, facility, Baker said.

The union will start in Boston and continue in New York City and Los Angeles, Baker said. All 13 cities will be presented with the resolution by mid-June, he said.

“It’s a logical move to create pressure on the company,” Baker said. Major cities understand the effect of job losses by companies moving out of the U.S. for cheaper labor, and hopefully they will stand by the union, he said.

While the union has continually lambasted Mondelez for moving jobs out of the country, the company continues to invest heavily in the U.S. manufacturing industry, Laurie Guzzinati, a spokeswoman for Mondelez, told Bloomberg BNA May 18.

“Our commitment to the U.S. is strong and remains so,” she said.

Chicago Lost 600 Jobs

The resolution is part of the union’s long-running campaign against Nabisco’s parent company, Mondelez International. In July 2015, Nabisco announced it would send 600 of the 1,200 jobs at its Chicago plant to the new location in Salinas. The workers in Chicago baked Oreo cookies.

Because no official filing from the union has been made, it would be inappropriate to speculate on the possible effect on Mondelez’s business or other implications, Guzzinati said.

Mondelez’s three other major manufacturing plants in the U.S. are in Fair Lawn, N.J., Richmond, Va., and Portland, Ore.

A representative for Boston City Council President Michelle Wu said no resolution has been presented to the council, but the office plans to follow the progress of this issue.

Some of Mondelez’s well-known snack brands are made in a few U.S. plants, but the concern is that more of those jobs will move out of the country, Baker said.

Production of Oreos and Mondelez’s other core products have dropped in the U.S. “Their plan, if not stopped now, will be to take most of their high volume and higher profit brands to Mexico resulting in subsequent closing of more U.S facilities,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jaclyn Diaz in Washington at jDiaz@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com; Christopher Opfer at copfer@bna.com

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