JBS workers not ready to strike, yet

GREELEY – The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 has not given JBS USA (Bovespa: JBSS3) notice to end its labor contract despite a strike vote by workers at the company’s beef-processing plant in Greeley last week.
 
The union has not given the required three-day notice to cancel a labor contract extension in order for workers to strike, officials said this week. Workers voted to strike Friday and Saturday after the union said an offer by the company fell short of the union’s expectations.
 
JBS representatives have told the union they would like to meet, and the union has provided the company with dates when officials could meet for further negotiations. The union, however, has not heard back from the company since then, said Kevin Schneider, secretary and treasurer for Local 7.

JBS said in a statement that it looks forward to working with union officials to reach a resolution.
 
Union officials have been negotiating with JBS since last August and agreed to an extension of the labor contract in September.
 
“Before we could strike, either party would have to break the extension,” Local 7 president Kim Cordova said. “We are on an extension unless we give 72-hour notice” to JBS.

“If they try to drag this out any longer, we’re going to take issue – if they don’t want to come back to the table, if they don’t want to seriously sit down,” she added.

The union said last week that its negotiating committee rejected JBS’ latest offer because it shifted millions of dollars of health-insurance costs from the company to workers. The proposed contract also gave JBS the right to change health benefits without the union’s consent.
 
The union also disapproved of the contract because it would last for six years, which the union says is too long to anticipate future cost-of-living increases. The proposal also eliminates additional compensation that workers receive when they are required to wear certain kinds of protective equipment.

JBS USA employs more than 4,200 people in Greeley. Its beef plant has a daily capacity to process 5,400 cattle.
 
Shares of Brazilian meatpacker JBS S.A., the parent company of JBS USA, were down 1 percent to 7.51 reais ($3.42) Tuesday.


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