Hershey workers at Virginia plant vote against unionization

March 24 (Reuters) – Workers at the second-largest U.S. manufacturing plant Hershey Co (HSY.N) have voted against organizing, even as organizing efforts have gained momentum among low-paid workers in the large American companies.

The Hershey factory, located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Stuarts Draft, Va., has about 1,400 employees and primarily manufactures peanut products, including Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and other treats like Almond Joy.

Hershey ahead of the vote, the counting and preliminary result of which was broadcast live by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Thursday, set up a website to say he doesn’t want a union at the plant 40 years old.

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The website highlighted Hershey’s perceived risks associated with unionization, including compromising its ability to recruit workers. He also pointed out that factories were open when a few rivals laid off employees during the pandemic.

Two Hershey workers interviewed by Reuters, one of whom was recently fired after 14 years at the Virginia plant, said it was difficult to miss work and sometimes had to work seven days off. in a row.

One of the workers, who requested anonymity due to potential retaliation, said forming a union was not about money and benefits, but about being treated with respect and dignity.

Hershey, which has two of its seven U.S. factories unionized, also said most people who left the plant said they did so because of a lack of time off rather than pay. He added that his attendance policy “needs a bit of work” and that a team is looking to simplify the rules around leave and absences.

Hershey and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco and Millers Workers International Union (BCTGM) did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the outcome.

However, a few Starbucks (SBUX.O) coffee shops have unionized in recent weeks, while workers at King Soopers (KR.N) and Kellogg’s (KN) cereal plant have gone on strike in recent months to get better deals.

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Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Shailesh Kuber

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