Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

UFCW and IBT request union members buy Wise products

02.22.10

FEBRUARY 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

UFCW and IBT request union members buy Wise products

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 28th- The two unions that represent workers employed at the Wise Foods plant in Berwick, Columbia County, are requesting union members patronize the company and buy Wise chips and snacks.

Michele Kessler, Secretary-Treasurer of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union Local 1776, Route 315 in Pittston, stated by purchasing Wise Snacks products, union members would be supporting “fellow union brothers and sisters.”

“Purchase Wise snacks and eat union made products and help our members,” said Ms. Kessler.

Local 1776 represents approximately 25,000 workers throughout Northeastern, Central and Southeastern Pennsylvania. The union represents workers employed in supermarkets; drug stores, including Rite Aid; food processing plants; government services, including workers employed by the Borough of Dunmore; manufacturing plants, including Wise Snacks; nursing homes, including Valley Crest Nursing Home; and the Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits Shoppes.

Ms. Kessler stated Wise employs approximately 600 union workers at their manufacturing plant in Berwick including around 540 UFCW members. The union represents production workers.

Local 1776 members are currently working under the terms and conditions of the previous contract agreement that expired on February 1st, 2009. In August 2009 the membership rejected the company’s three-year contract proposal that contained a pension freeze and because of rises in health insurance costs would wipe out wage increases.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 401, South Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre, represents around 60 Wise Foods workers including truck drivers and warehouse employees.

According to James Murphy, Business Representative of Local 401, the contract between the IBT and Wise Foods does not expire for another year and a half.

“They are tough employers, but they are a good employer as well,” said Mr. Murphy.

Ms. Kessler said the company is one of the largest employers in the area that employs union workers.

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