More than 50 delegates from trade unions representing Mondelēz International workers around the world gathered in Chicago on September 20- 21 at a Global Summit to address the rampant and calculated destruction of jobs by Mondelēz, whose global subsidiaries include Nabisco, Cadbury, LU and Milka.
Representatives of the International Union of Food Workers (IUF) and the BCTGM International Union led the spirited meeting that focused on developing a coordinated, global response in defending quality jobs at Mondelēz. The IUF is an international federation of trade unions which represents 2.5 million workers in affiliated organizations in 126 countries. The BCTGM is an active affiliate of the IUF and has partnered together on many important initiatives.
Bringing together labor leaders from across the globe became necessary after Mondelēz embarked on a program of endless restructuring and financial engineering to achieve short-term financial gains which resulted in the elimination of thousands of good union jobs and the weakening of trade union rights. One strategy the company has executed is outsourcing production from unionized facilities to low-wage countries with lower levels of regulatory standards and social protections. Most recently, Mondelēz eliminated 600 union jobs at the Nabisco facility in Chicago and announced the closure of its factory in Valladolid, Spain, with the loss of 220 jobs. This comes on the heels of plants closings in Toronto, Canada, and Philadelphia, Pa, and the earlier closing of the iconic Cadbury plant in Somerdale, UK. Most of this production was sent to lower wage nations.
“A coordinated worldwide effort is essential in stopping companies like Mondelēz from destroying good middle class jobs and then exploiting low wage workers across the globe,” notes BCTGM International President David B. Durkee.
“Mondelēz is hoping that consumers don’t catch on to their simple strategy: close unionized factories, ship production to low-wage nations and then ship the finished products to the same countries it has just closed the factories in. We believe that if consumers understand how this disastrous strategy is hurting their communities and economies, they will say ‘enough is enough.’ Part of this new, coordinated global effort is to educate the public about this devastating business model, which enriches the largest shareholders and top executives at the expense of its workforce and the communities and countries in which they live,” Durkee reflects.
“By combining our efforts with those of other unions representing Mondelēz in Europe, Asia and Latin America, we will be well-suited to confront this corporation wherever they do business,” Durkee concludes.
Twenty BCTGM delegates participated in the Global Summit, which produced tremendous dialogue and international understanding among the global unions. The Summit will provide an important and effective springboard for communication and future actions to address Mondelēz’ activities anywhere in the world.