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Latest News - August 2010

August 07, 2010
Court bars union's strike-related labels on Mott's products
By: Matthew Daneman • Staff writer

A federal judge ordered union members and supporters to stop defacing Mott’s products on supermarket shelves with labels critical of the company. The union action had been prompted by a lengthy, ongoing strike at the Mott’s plant in Williamson, Wayne County.

Judge Jorge A. Solis, with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, this week sided with a request by Mott’s LLP and Texas-based parent company Dr Pepper Snapple Group for a court order blocking the tactic by the United Food and Commercial Workers International. The union was going into grocery stores and taping strike-related labels onto Mott’s products.

Those labels contained information about Dr Pepper Snapple’s profits and the salary paid to its CEO, contrasted those figures with the pay cuts imposed on hourly Mott’s workers and directed shoppers to the union’s website.

In his ruling, Solis said the union’s labeling activities violated federal anti-tampering laws.

Union spokesman Jim Papian said the labels weren’t being put over Mott’s labels but on a blank area of the container.

About 300 hourly Mott’s workers represented by the union walked off the job May 23 in a dispute over pay and benefits cuts. The plant has continued to operate using other Dr Pepper Snapple employees and temporary workers.

The company, declaring that negotiations were at loggerheads, on May 23 imposed the terms of its most recent offer, including a $1.50-per-hour pay cut and a 20 percent reduction in the company’s contribution to workers’ 401(k) retirement plans. According to Dr Pepper Snapple, the average wage at the plant is $21 an hour.

In a statement, Dr Pepper Snapple CEO Larry Young said the company has “a fiduciary responsibility to protect our trademarks and packaging and take reasonable steps to ensure our retail customers and consumers can sell and buy our products without disruption to their business or shopping experience.”

Papian said the union plans to abide with Solis’ decision. But, he added, “We have every right to handbill in front of stores. The workers of the plant will continue to picket.”



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