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Tastykake celebrates 100 years, now with unionized workers

03.25.14

MARCH 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Tastykake celebrates 100 years, now with unionized workers

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 2nd- The Philadelphia bakery Tastykake recently marked its 100th year anniversary in business by introducing a new product and giving out free treats. The company is headquartered in the Germantown section of South Philadelphia.

According to a press released the bakery made only 100 cakes on its first day 100 years ago and now produces around 5 million a day including cakes, doughnuts, cookies, and pies. In the past several years the company built a new baking facility at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

The Philadelphia Baking Company merged in 2011 with the Georgia based Flowers Foods Inc. and currently approximately 750 people are employed at the bakery. In 2010 the company employed around 870 workers overall.

The people that deliver products to stores and businesses purchase their trucks from the company and operate as owners buying their routes like franchise owners. However, drivers that drove the trucks over-the-rode were represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 115. Also, the bakery maintenance workers are represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 98, but the company always made their products with nonunion workers.

For many years the bakery workers resisted union organizing attempts believing they were already being treated fairly and in no need of being represented by a labor organization.

However, in the early mid-2000’s the company was struggling financially because of poor management and feared for their jobs when the company was moving into the new plant that aroused concerns about seniority and employment security among the workers.

In 2010 the Tastykake workers voted to be represented for the purpose of collective bargaining by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTWGM) International Union Local 492 in Philadelphia.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia conducted the representation election on August 11th, 2010. The workers voted 149 for representation of Local 492 to 72 against.

During first-time contract negotiations one of the important issues included the placing the union label on company products, which now appears on cupkakes and other bakery goods.