The following is a message from the Mondelēz /Nabisco bargaining table from International VP Jethro Head, Union Chairman:
Brothers and sisters, your Union Negotiating Committee came to Charlotte last week to negotiate in good faith and reach a reasonable deal that would benefit the membership, while allowing the company to continue to reap high profits.
Sadly, the Company remains fixated on getting out of the B&C Plan. To do so, they are spending all of their time here in negotiations trying to convince us that a defined contribution plan will somehow be better for the membership in the long run.
We have told them that their “savings plan of the future” is not in the least equivalent to any defined benefit pension plan. Study after study shows that defined benefit plans not only protect retirees from the highs and lows of the market, but that DB plans actually outperform DC plans. There really is no comparison.
The Company claims that the funding status of the B&C Plan worries them, and they are concerned for your future. The reality is, as a result of the 2008 Financial Crisis, all pension plans-DB and DC-took huge financial hits. While defined benefit plans could work themselves out of their difficulties (like the B&C Plan is currently doing), workers stuck with paltry DC balances saw their retirement security go up in smoke.
The Company is also speaking out of both sides of their mouths. While they want you to sacrifice your retirement security, they are making sure to keep their top executives safe from your fate.
For example, Irene Rosenfeld, who has made more than $160 million over the last eight years (not including dividends) and who has access to a corporate jet for private use, and the best healthcare that money can buy — wants the workers to sacrifice their own retirement security. Making this even more appalling is that what Irene won’t tell you is that she has a defined benefit pension plan. According to the Mondelēz 2015 Proxy (DEF 14), Irene currently has a pension nest egg of $35,000,000 ($1.6 million in the Mondelēz Global Retirement Plan, $31.6 million in the Mondelēz Global Supplemental Benefits Plan I and another $1.8 million in the Mondelēz Global Supplemental Benefits Plan II).
The reality is the corporate executives in Deerfield, including those that are representing this employer in bargaining, have shown no regard for you, your children, or anyone else who depends on your paycheck from Nabisco to live a decent life.
No matter how they present it and no matter how concerned they say they are about you and your family’s future it all comes down to one thing: they want no long term commitment to you after you leave the premises for the last time. Decades worth of service and your entire life dedicated to making Nabisco a snacking powerhouse means little to them.
Mondelēz wants to dismantle your futures by downsizing your jobs and your pensions. We came to reach an amicable settlement through legitimate and reasonable give and take, but loyalty is a two-way street and they have yet to recognize your legitimate contributions to their past accomplishments.
Those in this Company, including those that represent Mondelēz in this bargaining, have shown no regard for your children or anyone else who depends on your paycheck from Nabisco. It is sad that we must confront this mean-spirited attitude and absolute disregard for your service. But such is the current state of affairs here in Charlotte.
In less than one week, the contract between Mondelēz/Nabisco and the BCTGM expires and we will have to do what we must to protect those that are closest to us. It is our hope that we can avoid this fight, but should the Company’s approach not change, we must be ready to protect the futures of our families. Stay strong, get prepared and understand that we all will get through this tough situation together. But if it is their desire to test your conviction, we must be prepared to do what we must.
My bet is that the BCTGM Nabisco membership will send a loud and clear message: keep your hands off our pensions and quit using employees in Chicago as a bargaining chip in these negotiations.
That is our message here in Charlotte and it should be yours everyday at the plant.
I will keep you updated.
— International Vice President Jethro Head