Laid-off Old Dutch Workers Reject Severance Offer
The workers of the now-closed Old Dutch plant are heading to court to resolve their grievance with the company.
At a general meeting, 107 of the 130 union members that were present voted to reject their employer's final severance offer.
William Shadbolt says his union had clear reasons to vote against the final offer from Old Dutch
"They voted the way that they felt, that the company did not respect them, they did not come with an offer that was acceptable to them, and 82 percent of the people who showed up today were very clear on that," said the president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union, Local 550 (BCTM).
The now former employees of the Old Dutch plant will be seeking a better deal through arbitration, according to Shadbolt.
The offer presented by the Minnesota-based snack company would have seen junior employees with less than 9 years seniority paid 20 hours in severance, while senior workers of over 35 years were offered a half-week's pay per year of employment, with a $6,000 dollar minimum guaranteed.
Rohan Williams had worked at the plant for 11 years, which would have allotted him $2,000 in severance. He says the offer doesn't offer himself and other employees much after deductions.
"It's still totally not adequate, because if you look at the length of time and if you were to calculate it on the basis of [...] a week's salary per year, it is nothing, and by the time you remove tax from it [...] you're coming down to nothing," he said.
While BCTM will be heading to court for a better deal, for Shadbolt, this is the end of the line.
It's hard, it's an end, I said goodbye to a lot of good friends today. the fight is not over yet but my participation in that is, [BCTM international] will be taking over for us and I have a lot of confidence in them," he said.
The last shift at the Old Dutch plant ended on Friday.
The union was told in May the plant would be shutting down after 49 years, formerly the Humpty Dumpty plant before being purchased by Old Dutch in 2006.
Photo by: John Kenney, THE GAZETTE—Jacques Desrosiers, who was in his 34th year of working for Old Dutch before the plant was shut down, will await arbitration following the union's vote rejecting their former employer's offer.