NEW YORK, Aug. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union has released a letter by the Texas Congressional Delegation to the Chief Executive Officer of Dr Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS) expressing concern over the ongoing strike in Williamson, NY and urged the Texas-based beverage giant to return to the bargaining table with RWDSU Local 220. The letter, addressed to Dr Pepper Snapple CEO and President Larry D. Young, urges the company to take a "responsible, cooperative approach we value so much in Texas" in dealing with it's labor issues.
Over 300 full-time manufacturing workers at the Mott's plant in Williamson, New York, represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU, affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union) Local 220 went out on strike on May 23rd as a result of unfair labor practices committed by the corporation in their efforts to impose drastic and unprecedented wage and benefit cuts on their workforce. Despite record profits ($555 million in 2009) Dr Pepper Snapple Group has imposed a $1.50 per hour wage cut for all workers, a pension elimination for future workers and a pension freeze for current workers, a 20 percent decrease in employer contributions to the 401K and increased employee contributions toward health care premiums and co-pays. By contrast, Dr Pepper Snapple Group President & CEO Larry D. Young has enjoyed a 113% salary increase over the last 3 years (or 29 percent each year). Mr. Young's total compensation last year was $6.5 million.
"We can understand if the company needs it, we're willing to give concessions," said Mike LaBerth, president of RWDSU Local 220. "But when a company like Dr Pepper Snapple is making money hand over fist, their CEOs are getting huge increases in wages, receiving millions of dollars in bonuses, should the people who are actually making the products — whose hard work make the company profitable — take all the cuts and get stomped on?"
"They said that if we can't meet our finances on the contract they're offering us, then we need to sell our houses," said label operator and union bargaining committee member Bruce Beal, adding that a company official said that workers needed to think of themselves as commodities, like "soybeans or oil," and that as supply rises, the price goes down.
The letter from the Texas Congressional members in full reads:
Mr. Larry D. Young
Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc.
5301 Legacy Drive
Plano, TX 75024
Dear Mr. Young:
It is with concern we have read of the strike at the Dr Pepper Snapple Group-owned Mott's plant in Williamson, New York. As Representatives of Texas in the United States Congress, we follow our home state companies as they grow and expand across the country and around the world. Texans are leaders in many industries, and we have long been pleased to count Dr Pepper Snapple among the companies that are making our state proud as they grow and succeed.
However, we also believe that Texas companies should be leaders not just in corporate growth, but also in corporate responsibility and accountability. They should take the responsible, cooperative approach we value so much in Texas and spread it around the globe. That's why we were especially troubled to learn of the strike in Williamson and your company's failure to reach an amicable resolution to allow more than 300 of your employees in the plant to return to work.
These workers have been a critical part in the success that both Mott's and Dr Pepper Snapple have enjoyed over the years. They are an integral part of their communities, and your plant provides good jobs to them in this time of economic crisis.
We urge you to uphold the high standards that all Texans set for themselves and their businesses and return to the bargaining table with your Mott's workers to come to an agreement that allows this plant and your company continued success and growth. Just as we recognize the role you plan in our economy, we hope that you recognize the valuable role that these workers play in your company and work together to build a dynamic and successful future.
Please let us know if there is anything we can do to assist in reaching a resolution. We thank you for your time and attention and we have confidence that you will heed our letter and return to the table to find a solution.
Members of Texas Congressional Delegation
The signers are:
Sheila Jackson Lee
Eddie Bernice Johnson
New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy and Senators' Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have urged Mott's executives to get back to the negotiating table and bargain in good faith. For more information about the Mott's strike, go to www.mottsworkers.org.
About the RWDSU
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union represents 100,000 members in the U.S. and Canada. The RWDSU is affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
SOURCE Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union
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