Features, Labor News Briefs, National, New York, Retail

After 60 Years, Lipton Tea Workers Win Union at Virginia Plant

August 25, 2017

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

Suffolk, Va.—The 240 workers at the plant that makes nearly all of the Lipton tea sold in North America have a union contract for the first time since it opened more than 60 years ago. The four-year agreement, ratified by a 109-6 vote July 24, limits mandatory overtime to two weekends per month and guarantees workers four days a year when they can opt out of it, Jonathan Williams, communications manager for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400, told the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot. The deal also gives workers annual raises, vacation time, and better health-care benefits, he added. “We got a big cut on the premiums we pay,” said worker Corey Hicks of Southampton County. “For a family, it means as much as $4,000 a year.” Workers first contacted the UFCW last August, Williams said, and negotiations with the company began in October. “The savings on health care and limits to forced overtime are the biggest improvements, and we can build from here,” he added. Read more

August 25, 2017

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