Published: 02/10/2009

The Jobs with Justice coalition is campaigning to keep Bronx, New York-based biscuit maker Stella D’oro in New York. 136 members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) were forced out on strike last year for nearly 11 months when the private equity-owned company presented a take-it-or-leave-it contract offer which would have shredded wages and benefits. From August 14, 2008, union members showed tremendous solidarity on the picket line, winning growing community, national and international support for holding the line against a predatory financial investor. The Stella buyout and the union’s resistance to financial pillage – and its wider significance for a US industrial landscape riddled with private equity wreckage – was described in Buyouts, Breadsticks, Biscotti.

The union won a rare legal victory when the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled the company guilty of bargaining in bad faith and ordered the workers reinstated with full back pay. When they returned to work on July 6, private equity owners Brynwood Partners announced they would be closing the plant within 90 days and relocating production. Union efforts to use the NLRB procedures to fight this illegal retaliation stalled at the NLRB. And on September 8, Brynwood announced that it had reached a deal to sell Stella D’oro to Lance, Inc., a non-union North Carolina-based food manufacturer that owns snack brands such as Archway cookies – another victim of leveraged buyout predators under investigation for cooking the books to meet their obligations to creditors.

The deal will not be finalized until October. Stella D’oro has been in the Bronx for seventy years; BCTGM Local 50 has represented the workers since the 1960’s. Stella and its workers have firm roots in the community.

There’s still time. CLICK HERE to send a message to Lance, telling them to keep Stella D’oro in the Bronx – with a union contract!