Published: 07/12/2009

Bakery workers of the US BCTGM Local 57 face a vicious assault on their working conditions and benefits by management of the “New Bakery of Ohio” in Zanesville, Ohio. The bakery is owned by and supplies the global fast-food company Wendy’s/Arby’s, with over 10,000 restaurants and USD 12 billion in annual sales.

In negotiations for renewal of the collective agreement, the company is demanding that employees accept substandard health insurance and give up their defined benefit pension. Management is also proposing to eliminate seniority with respect to layoffs and recalls and substantially eliminate paid holidays and vacation.

Employer demands to slash pay and benefits and turn over defined benefit pensions to Wall Street have become all too familiar to North American workers and their unions over past decades. But Wendy’s/Arby’s have gone further still in their demands. The company is proposing that all part-time employees (many of whom are part-time because they have family responsibilities) wait by their phones for four hours a day in case they are needed to work. If the part-time employee doesn’t answer the phone call a message will be left on the employee’s recorder and they must return the phone call within thirty minutes or will receive an infraction on their attendance record. If the part-time member doesn’t answer the phone after five attempts they will automatically be discharged.

The IUF has written Wendy’s/Arby’s Group boss Roland Smith, calling on the company to halt these attacks on long-serving employees and to get its negotiators back to the table in good faith contract negotiations.