Union members vote to accept new Mondelez contract

Striking union members have voted to accept a new four-year collective bargaining agreement with snack company Mondelez International, ending a walkout that began last month

HENRICO, Va. -- Striking union members voted to accept a new four-year collective bargaining agreement with snack company Mondelez International, ending a walkout that began last month.

The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union announced the results of the vote Saturday, after voting Thursday and Friday, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

The ratification ends a walkout by more than 1,000 hourly employees at a Virginia plant, bakeries in Portland, Oregon, and in Chicago, and three distribution centers across the country. The workers were seeking increased pay, improved benefits and better working conditions.

“I’m ecstatic,” said Darlene Carpenter, the business agent for the union’s Local 358. “This is a major win. We have been like David, who took down Goliath because people stood up for their beliefs.”

Workers get a $5,000 ratification bonus, increased company match to 401(k) contributions and raises each year of the contract, Carpenter said.

“This has been a long and difficult fight for our striking members, their families and our union,” Anthony Shelton, the union’s international president, said in a statement.

The company was pleased the union ratified the contracts, Mondelez International Executive Vice President and North America operations President Glen Walter said.

“Our goal has always been to reach agreements that would provide our union-represented colleagues with good wages and competitive benefits, while also positioning our U.S. bakeries and sales distribution facilities for future growth and success,” Walter said in a statement.