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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
11:59am
Wed Mar 23, 2016

Laid Off Chicago Bakery Workers, Union Leaders Prepare To Escalate Nabisco Boycott Campaign (VIDEO)

Laid off Chicago Nabisco bakery workers and their union leaders say they aren't done fighting to protect American jobs from being shipped to Mexico. They protested Wednesday outside the bakery and detailed next steps for their Nabisco consumer boycott campaign. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:53pm
Thu Mar 10, 2016

Chicago Nabisco Bakery Workers Rally Against Layoffs, Offshoring Of American Jobs (VIDEO) (UPDATED)

Chicago Nabisco bakery workers protested Thursday against Mondelez International's plans to move hundreds of local jobs to Mexico.

Quick Hit
by Michael Joyce
3:45pm
Mon Feb 22, 2016

Candlelight Vigil Held For Several Hundred Jobs Lost & In Peril In Chicago

A warm atmosphere contrasted the cold weather as demonstrators gathered to chant, cheer, and shout in defiance of Mondelez International, one of the world's largest snack companies, Sunday evening.

At times it was difficult to hear the organizers speaking over the sounds of the crowd cheering and passing cars beeping on the corner of 73rd and Kedzie Ave., where a candlelight vigil was held directly across the street from the Nabisco factory, which is owned by Mondelez International.

Last year, Mondelez told employees that the company would be relocating much of the production work to Salinas, Mexico.

So far 227 employees have received layoff notices as a result of the company closing nine of the bakery's sixteen production lines. Additionally, Mondelez is contemplating the opening of four new lines in Mexico, which would result in a total loss of 600 jobs in Chicago.

Barbara Cimbalista, an employee of Mondelez International, says she was told by management that if they want to keep their jobs, they need to be able to compete with Mexico.

"I said, 'how do you expect us to compete with Mexico when they get $3 an hour, and we get $25 an hour,'" asked Cimbalista. "They said cut wages and benefits. I said 'no, I don't think so.'"

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:33pm
Thu Jun 11, 2015

Whistleblower Becomes Alleged Victim Of Retaliatory Firing At Nippon Sharyo Plant (VIDEO) (UPDATED)

Passenger railcar manufacturer Nippon Sharyo has once again garnered the attention of activists and workers' rights advocates, this time for an alleged retaliatory firing. A former Nippon Sharyo worker says she was let go last week after speaking out about alleged unsafe working conditions and unfair treatment at the company's plant in Rochelle, Illinois.

Back in mid-March, then-Nippon Sharyo worker Jennifer Svenkerud filed a whistleblower discrimination complaint with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), claiming that she was written up and sent home without pay after speaking to company officials about an alleged fall hazard in the non-unionized facility.

Svenkerud, 42, worked at Nippon Sharyo's Rochelle plant as an interior railcar assembler. Before filing her complaint with OSHA of the U.S. Labor Department, Svenkerud said she was assigned on March 3 to work inside a passenger railcar that lacked handrails and safety boards to prevent falls.

"They had me drilling up into a ceiling, and I had a five-foot drop within about a half an inch from me," she told Progress Illinois. "And we're supposed to have boards there. So I went to my boss to get boards there, and they told me that that was part of my job, and I didn't need the boards."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:02pm
Tue Apr 28, 2015

Nippon Sharyo Fined For OSHA Violations, Illinois Worker Advocates Applaud (VIDEO)

On Workers' Memorial Day, a coalition of local worker advocates applauded the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Tuesday morning for recently addressing "serious" safety and health hazards at Nippon Sharyo's passenger train factory in Rochelle, Illinois.

Standing outside Chicago's John C. Kluczynski Federal Building, the location of OSHA's Region 5 office, members of the Illinois Jobs to Move America coalition observed a moment of silence in honor of workers across the nation who have been injured or killed on the job and also called attention to problems at Nippon Sharyo's Rochelle facility. The Illinois Jobs to Move America coalition is comprised of community, faith, environmental and labor leaders, among others.

"The job of an assembly technician at a Ford assembly plant in Chicago shouldn't be so different than a job of [an] assembly technician at Nippon Sharyo['s] factory in Rochelle," Tony Garcia, Illinois legislative director from United Automobile Workers (UAW) Region 4, said. "But based on Nippon's OSHA violations, they are worlds apart ... Irresponsible non-union employers like Nippon Sharyo take a different approach, often cutting corners, doing training on the fly -- or not at all -- and using the cheapest inadequate equipment ... It's time for Nippon Sharyo to fix the hazardous conditions in its factory, and tell the public how they're going to do it."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:06pm
Tue Jan 20, 2015

Manufacturing Wages On The Decline, Experts Say

A recent report shows that U.S. manufacturing wages have tumbled over the past decade. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the findings and gets reaction from U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, who has been working on efforts to promote job training and growth in manufacturing. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:30pm
Mon Nov 10, 2014

Worker Advocates Protest 'Unsafe' Conditions At Nippon Sharyo Rail Car Manufacturing Factory

Worker advocates are sounding the alarm on "dangerous" and "unhealthy" working conditions at Nippon Sharyo's passenger train factory in Rochelle, Illinois.

Employees at the Rochelle plant -- which has received millions in grants, tax credits and training money from the state -- build railcars for Metra and other public transit agencies.

With the help of the AFL-CIO, current and former factory employees filed a complaint last month with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), alleging that workers "are exposed to serious, unsafe conditions on an ongoing basis."

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