Nearly 500 General Mills employees could vote to strike amid contract disputes

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Hundreds of General Mills workers could go on strike Wednesday. The more than 500 union members are voting whether or not to authorize the strike.

According to the union's website, employees will vote throughout the day. Voting started at 6 a.m. and goes until 4:30 p.m.

Workers want to secure higher pay and to hold on to their overtime and premium weekend pay, along with their healthcare and retirement benefits.

Last Friday, the company and the union failed to meet the deadline for contract negotiations. On Monday night, many of the union's members picketed in different locations in the Cedar Rapids area, including at the home of a General Mills plant manager in Robins.

The union said General Mills' 'last, best and final' offer to workers did not contain raises, did not maintain benefits over the term of a contract and did not have provisions that would support workers. The union said the final offer also included unfair scheduling practices and subcontracting that 'could move jobs from Cedar Rapids to other non-union facilities.'

A statement on the union's website calls General Mills' offer "utterly unacceptable." The union goes on to say "It is TIME to show the Company that we are not going to accept a contract where they can change things to whatever they want, whenever they want."

In its latest statement to KCRG-TV9, General Mills said it has been a proud employer in Cedar Rapids for nearly 50 years.

It goes on to say quote "General Mills and the RWDSU have met on many occasions. We provided a final offer at the Union's request on October 31. We respect our employee's ability to strike, but we hope they choose to ratify this offer."

By the way, this union is relatively new. The more than 500 workers voted to unionize just in January of this year. General Mills managers said they did not think the workers would be best served with a union bargaining collectively.