“Senator Elizabeth Warren recently gave a speech where she made her case for electing women Democrats to Congress saying, ‘If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu.’ And this is something I’ve started telling workers in organizing campaigns.”
— John Price, BCTGM International Director of Organization
Acknowledging that organizing is demanding and often frustrating work, BCTGM Director of Organization John Price notes that it’s also the most rewarding job in the labor movement because, “It is incredibly satisfying to help workers organize and fight against injustice.”
Given how completely inadequate U.S. labor laws are and the brutality of some anti-union employer campaigns, Price says, “It’s understandable why workers are filled with fear and local union organizers get discouraged. But still, a major commitment is necessary.”
It is the commitment of Price and a small army of International Union staff and local union organizers that led to a very high number of successful NLRB and Canadian certification organizing campaigns in 2014, bringing in more than 1,300 new members to the BCTGM. On top of these victories, the BCTGM had outstanding success in signing up new members in BCTGM-represented shops in “right-to-work for less” states.
“As an International Union, we are creating a culture of organizing within our own ranks. And workers are hearing about us. Plant by plant, despite anti-union employers and broken labor laws, workers are reaching out to local union leaders and representatives of our Union and voting to join the BCTGM,” notes BCTGM International President David Durkee.
James Skinner Baking Co. Workers Vote Union
When the Sara Lee bakery in Paris, Texas shuttered its doors in December 2011, BCTGM Local 111 (Dallas) members were devastated. Many of the workers had more than 20 years of seniority at the bakery, which had been under a union contract since 1974.
The bakery sat idle until late 2012 when Omaha, Neb.-based James Skinner Baking Co. purchased the facility and invested $25 million in upgrades. The 350,000-square-foot bakery reopened in 2013 and hired nearly 400 workers – a majority of whom were former BCTGM members.
Workers quickly discovered the vast difference between working in a union bakery versus a non-union bakery. Unhappy about being treated unfairly, workers reached out to the BCTGM through the union’s online organizing contact form.
“This is a classic example of the excellent representation by the BCTGM,” says Director of Organization John Price. “Workers at this bakery remembered what it was like having a BCTGM contract and the respect and protection it brought to the plant floor. More than 80 percent of the workers immediately signed union authorization cards,” Price says.
On November 18, workers voted overwhelmingly to become members of BCTGM Local 111. According to Price, rank-and-file Local 111 organizers Royce Stogner, Bridget Alaman and Martha Kiblinger were vital to the success of the campaign.
Stogner, a retired member of Local 111 who worked at the former Sara Lee plant for more than 20 years and served as chief steward, was key to communicating with the workers. “Everyone knows and trusts Royce and they could relate to him on a personal and professional level,” notes Price.
Additionally, BCTGM rank-and-file Organizer Jason Davis, Local 103 (Orlando) Financial Secretary/Business Agent, assisted Price in the campaign.
James Skinner Baking Co. supplies more than 200 million pastries and baked goods per year to customers throughout the U.S. Its products are offered under the Skinner brand and other branded and private label names to store bakeries, foodservice companies and distributors. BCTGM Local 433 represents workers at the James Skinner Baking facility in Omaha, Neb.