‘Guaranteed off’ days, but no higher wage raises or overtime limit in new offer to Topeka Frito-Lay workers

Local News

Workers hold signs across from the Topeka Frito-Lay plant, in the midst of a strike that started July 5. (KSNT Photo)

TOPEKA (KSNT) – A document leaked Thursday afternoon details the new agreement between Frito-Lay and the company’s unionized workers, and while it showed a guaranteed day off for them and frontloaded wage raises, it would also get rid of the company’s offer to limit overtime.

Union leaders made the tentative agreement with Frito-Lay on the 17th day of striking against the company, with many workers citing forced overtime and a lack of pay raises as core issues. Two sources inside the Bread, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers Local 218 Union gave the document to KSNT News, but Frito-Lay also responded to provide additional context to some of the details of the agreement.

Major points of the document, along with responses from Frito-Lay, are as follows:

  • All Frito-Lay employees will get either their sixth or seventh day out of the work week “guaranteed off.” The only exception is if that employee has already taken scheduled or unscheduled time off, with some examples including “call off, refusing mandatory overtime, vacation of less than a week, a sick day, a floating or regular holiday, unpaid funeral leave,” among the list. The document also said workers would see “the elimination of ‘suicide shifts,'” 30 days from the date both groups ratify the contract. Frito-Lay told KSNT News it refers to these shifts as “squeeze shifts,” and that the company offered to do this. It said “the union had never even proposed anything of this nature throughout negotiations.”
  • The company will pull its offer to cap employee overtime. The statement in the document reads “the company withdraws its proposal that employees cannot be required to work more than 60 hours in a work week.” A Frito-Lay representative told KSNT News that the union removed the 60-hour limit, and that union leaders told them “no contract would ratify with those details in the contract.”
  • Frito-Lay and the workers’ union will create a labor-management committee to make recommendations on staffing and overtime, comprised of three company officials and three union appointees. “The committee will make recommendations, but does not have decision making authority.”
  • The union will be required to “withdraw its grievance over the company’s use of temporary/contract labor.”

Alongside the four points above, the new deal also offers a wage increase. The union proposed 4% raises to Frito-Lay workers and the company agreed to meet this request over a two-year time span, according to a company representative. In the original contract offer, workers would get a 2% raise for two years consecutively, equaling the 4% total.

In the new deal, it instead frontloads the increase as a retroactive 3% base raise in the first year. Since the raise is offered as being effective Sept. 13, 2020, all workers get the 3% pay raise immediately. They then would get a 1% raise for the second year effective Sept. 12, 2021. By the end of the second year, there is no difference between the raises offered in the first agreement and the ones offered in the new deal.

Frito-Lay said earlier Thursday it was keeping the details of its new offer private at the union’s request, but did say the deal included “across-the-board” wage increases. It also urged the workers to vote to affirm it “so they can end the strike and return to work.”

“Following the union membership’s rejection of the July 1 fully recommended offer and the strike that began on July 5, [Bread, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers Union] Local 218 requested a meeting. We’ve spent the last three days jointly revisiting the terms of the prior offer and have aligned on a new offer that will better address employee concerns around guaranteed days off and create additional opportunities for the union to have input into staffing and overtime. Importantly, the revised offer once again includes across-the-board wage increases to employees in all job classifications. We believe this offer addresses the most pressing issues raised by our employees, and we believe it represents a win-win for both the union and Frito-Lay. We are urging employees to ratify this offer so they can end the strike and return to work. At the request of the union, we cannot release the specifics of the offer at this time.”

Frito-Lay

If the union workers vote on Friday to affirm the new offer, this contract would stay in effect until Sept. 10, 2022.

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