More than 300 workers at the Dannon yogurt plant in Minster, Ohio became members of the BCTGM following a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election on December 6, 2007, when an overwhelming majority voted to join the BCTGM.
The Dannon workers first reached out to the BCTGM through the union’s online organizing contact form in early January. A group of workers met with BCTGM International Representative John Price in late January to discuss their desire to become unionized.
The Dannon Company Inc. is a subsidiary of France-based Groupe Danone, one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies. Groupe Danone is the world’s leading producer of fresh dairy products, the second largest producer of biscuits and cereal products and a leading producer of bottled water. In the United States, Dannon has yogurt manufacturing facilities in Minster, West Jordan, Utah, Fort Worth, Texas, and Londonderry, New Hampshire.
The BCTGM’s affiliation with the global International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers Associations (IUF), played a large part in the organizing effort. The majority of Danone’s worldwide operations are unionized and the IUF has a formal relationship with Groupe Danone dating back to 1986.
The IUF reached out to unions in Europe and Asia that represent Danone workers to inform them of the organizing efforts in Ohio. Upon learning of the Dannon workers’ desire to join a union, Danone unions from around the world began sending letters of solidarity to the Minster workers. Letters were received from Belgium, Russia, Germany and other countries.
“Within this global economy, this was an overwhelming show of global solidarity,” concludes BCTGM International President Frank Hurt.