Bethlehem, PA. — September 28, 2016 – Just Born Quality Confections resumed discussions with BCTGM Union Local #6 today in hopes of reaching a contract agreement for about 400 plant associates at the company’s Bethlehem plant.
The meeting ended today with the parties reaching agreement on issues such as flexible spending accounts, shift differentials, and disability benefits. However, the primary issue hindering an agreement – the retirement benefit plan for new employees remains unresolved. Just Born’s pension proposal calls for existing associates to remain in the current multiemployer pension plan, with future hires participating in a 401(k) retirement plan instead. The company has not proposed eliminating the pension plan.
The current multiemployer pension plan is severely underfunded and is projected to be insolvent within 14 years. In addition, the pension fund imposed 10% surcharge, currently at $1.2 million and growing, is untenable for the long-term viability of Just Born’s business.
The current agreement between Just Born and the union expired September 18, 2016. The company has filed a lawsuit against the union in Federal Court in Philadelphia for calling an illegal strike during the term of the agreement.
“We remain hopeful that we can reach an agreement that is fair and equitable for all parties and allows us to stay competitive,” said Matthew Pye, VP of Corporate Affairs. The parties have agreed to resume negotiations on October 13, 2016.
Since the strike started, over 70 associates have returned to work, and in order to meet customer orders, permanent replacement workers have been hired in accordance with federal labor law.
About Just Born Quality Confections:
Just Born Quality Confections is a third-generation family-owned company that has grown into the 9th largest candy company in the U.S. Just Born is the maker of some of America’s most beloved and iconic brands – PEEPS®, MIKE AND IKE®, HOT TAMALES® and GOLDENBERG’S® PEANUT CHEWS®. In 1923, the founder, Sam Born, opened a small candy-making and retail store in Brooklyn, New York, where he marketed the freshness of his daily-made candy with a sign that declared, “Just Born.” Together with Born’s brothers-in-law, Irv and Jack Shaffer, the company thrived in spite of the economic depression of the 1930s and, in 1932, moved its operations to Bethlehem, PA, which is still home to their iconic candy brands. All Just Born candies are proudly made in the U.S.A. For more information, please visit www.justborn.com and see the breadth of candy and high-quality branded items at www.peepsandcompany.com. Follow us: facebook.com/JustBornInc, twitter.com/JustBornInc.