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By Mallika Mitra
August 24, 2021
A hand holding a packet of Oreos at the store with a a big cross out signal
Money; Shutterstock

Danny DeVito wants you to stop buying some of your favorite snacks, like Oreos and Ritz Crackers.

The actor put his support behind Nabisco workers, who are on strike following unsuccessful contract negotiations. "Support Nabisco workers striking for humane working hours, fair pay, outsourcing jobs. NO CONTRACTS NO SNACKS," DeVito tweeted last week.

Nabisco — which has created snack favorites like Chips Ahoy!, Teddy Grahams and Fig Newtons — benefited big time from the pandemic, when staying inside and chowing down on cookies was one of the few things we had to do. Nabisco's parent company, Mondelēz International, raked in billions of dollars.

But workers at some of the company's U.S. factories are striking over what they say are unacceptable proposed changes to their contracts and outsourcing jobs to Mexico.

Here's what you need to know about the Nabisco strike.

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Why Nabisco workers are striking

Workers at a Nabisco bakery in Portland, Oregon, called a strike around three weeks ago. Since then the strike has spread to bakeries in Colorado, Illinois and Virginia, with more than 1,000 workers joining in, according to CBS News. Mondelēz International proposed changes to workers' contracts like making eight-hour shifts, 12-hour shifts and that new hires should take on the additional costs of health insurance, the news outlet reported.

“They’re doing well, we’re losing all the way around,” Keith Bragg, president of the union's local 358 in Richmond, Virginia, told The Guardian.

When Kraft Foods, which included some of these snack brands, split in 2012, Mondelēz International became the name of Nabisco's parent company. Members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) union have since then been pushed to accept changes like eliminating pensions and switching workers to 401(k) plans in 2018, The Guardian reported.

The parent company has closed some plants in recent years, including a factory in New Jersey and another in Georgia earlier this year. The union is also demanding the end to what it calls the outsourcing of jobs to Mexico. Mondelēz International said in a statement that no U.S. jobs were moved to Mexico after the two plants closed in recent months (despite viral Facebook posts that inaccurately said otherwise).

Back in 2016, the company did eliminate about 600 jobs in its Chicago factory and move some operations to Salinas, Mexico, the Chicago Tribune reported at the time. Even Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had something to say about it: "If a company like Nabisco outsources and ships jobs overseas, we'll make you give back the tax breaks you receive here in America," Clinton said, while Trump vowed to "never eat another Oreo again."

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Nabisco boycott

The union launched a campaign back in 2016 called "check the label" calling for a boycott of Nabisco products made in Mexico.

"DO NOT BUY Nabisco products made in Mexico and tell your grocery manager to stock ONLY AMERICAN-MADE Nabisco/Mondelēz snacks!" BCTGM wrote. The union also provided two ways to check whether or not your Nabisco products were made in Mexico, including looking for "Made in Mexico" on the box and checking the plant identification codes.

This week, Corrina Christensen, director of public relations and communications at BCTGM, told Money that the union continues to fully endorse the boycott of Nabisco products made in Mexico.

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