TOPEKA (KSNT)- More than 500 Frito Lay workers began striking for the first time in the company’s history. Picketers have been out on Topeka Boulevard since 11:30 a.m. on July 4 preparing for the strike that officially started at 12:01 a.m. on July 5.
These union members are fighting through the heat to make their voices heard after members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) Local 2018 voted against a tentative agreement with Frito Lay this past Saturday. The vote was an overwhelming majority.
They now have a picketing schedule where members sign up for four-hour shifts at a time. Since the vote was finalized, the members said they have received unconditional support from the community.
“We got a lot of support with goodies and treats that came in,” said Mark Benaka, BCTGM Local 2018 Business Manager. “Other unions in the area showed up and walked the picketing line with us and folks just come in and give verbal support and assistance. There’s been a lot pouring in.”
The supporters who joined in on the picketing agree with the movement and the union strikers.
“It’s the workers who make the workplace run,” Patrick Dedonder said, a strike supporter. “It’s not management. So the workers need to be fairly compensated, have good working conditions, have a good contract.”
Union leaders said Frito Lay has been shipping in busses of nonunion members to work. The strike is planned out for two weeks, but they are prepared to go longer if necessary.