Employees at a Frito-Lay plant located in Topeka, Kansas, have been striking for over two weeks demanding improved working conditions and a better pay. According to the way they describe that story, they have a good reason to act A portion of the workers at the plant have been being forced to work overtime and have been working 84-hour days without a day off. One employee wrote an open message to the firm, frito lay strike boycott list, detailing an harrowing incident in which one of her coworkers fell down in the course of work and later died. The company’s management they wrote to, “had us move the body and put in another coworker to keep the line going.”
Frito-Lay claims it is dedicated towards “providing a safe and fair workplace” and has provided a two-year agreement that it believes will address worker concerns, such as limiting mandatory hours of work in … sixty hours per week. So far, the parties haven’t come to a consensus.
The strike has gotten some coverage in the media as well as on the internet, as is typical to be the case with collective action by workers. (See: Amazon workers’ recent unsuccessful attempt to join unions in Alabama as well as presidential candidates appearing on Stop & Shop picket lines.) Like what’s typical there’s a discussion between the public about how they can support the working class. The best method to do this isn’t always obvious -Social media posts increase public awareness but don’t achieve much in the way of tangible results. The effect of boycotts will differ. Focusing on a single corporate’s wrongdoings can blur the overall picture.
Mark McCarter, a palletizer and Steward for Frito-Lay in Topeka He told Vice that the workers he works with “would rather nobody buy” any Frito-Lay products for as long as the strike goes on, including Fritos Doritos, Fritos, Tostitos Funyuns, Fritos, and Cheetos. McCarter said that they’d prefer customers avoid products made by the parent company PepsiCo also. It’s quite different from Amazon employees earlier in the year, who explicitly stated that they weren’t calling for an outright boycott.
In light of this I reached out Kate Bahn, the director of labor market policy as well as interim chief economist of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth to talk about the current situation. We talked about the advancing public debate about worker rights and what it means for the public to pay attention and how they should best focus their efforts in order to ensure that work is fair and more secure.
It’s my impression that there has been more focus on worker rights in the general public recently. Does that make sense, and does that make sense?
People are paying more attention to. What I see as an inflection point that of the “#RedforED movement, a series of teacher strikes and demonstrationsthat started in the year 2018, and was a symbol of a new movement of labor as well as a new period of awareness. There’s evidence from that period of time that suggests that people were more aware due to the impact it had on their lives. A study focuses on parents who have children in school in comparison to parents and children who are a little older but not in schools. It was found that parents who were confronted with increased labor activism were not only more supportive of those activists who are part of the #RedforEd campaign, but they also showed greater keenness to take part in collective actions in their workplaces.
About Frito-Lay Particularly there’s been a lot of discussion regarding whether it should oppose its products, or PepsiCo’s parent company. Then one of the workers made a statement that said that customers should not purchase their products while they’re on strike. Should consumers be waiting for orders from workers such as this?
Absolutely. Always adhere to the worker’s instructions. The idea behind boycotts is mostly aimed at raising awareness, not to cause economic harm to a few of these businesses. They are more about building solidarity. I’m a bit of a believer in the origins of boycotts. They are a sort of public image campaign and it places a lot more pressure on the business when there is a general awareness of the fact that they’re not doing the right thing by their employees.
This is logical. Similar things happened in the case of Amazon workers who were trying to join forces in Alabama in the past, however the request was essentially contrary, isn’t it? They didn’t demand boycotts, but some called for it regardless.
In the end, I suggest that you follow the example of the workers, as I believe that they work alongside union strategists and organizers as well as people who know of the best method to increase public awareness. In certain situations and for some products, it might be helpful to conduct an outright boycott. In certain cases, such as Amazon I rely on the fact that employees are professionals at their work and work with those who are experts in union-related campaigns. They are more knowledgeable than the average consumer.
However, is the general public becoming more informed about rights of workers in general?
It continues to develop. In particular, at the beginning of the outbreak there was some progress on safety at work. It brought to light many long-standing issues regarding workplace safety. The situation got to a boiling point possibly a level at which people became more alert since we were all dealing with a health crisis that was affecting the entire population. frito lay strike boycott list, There were worries about the health of those employed in the grocery stores and also, people were scared to visit supermarkets and were aware of the threat in similar ways.
There have been 40 years of increasing inequality in income, and now we’re at the point that people are starting to realize that a large part of the reason for these general changes in income inequality and economic inequality, generally speaking is power imbalances in the market. It is impossible to have a fair allocation of our resources with the midst of a very diverse power structure. One of the methods to deal with these enormous long-term economic changes is to balance power. This is accomplished through those in the labour movement.
Do we need to be shocked by the working conditions that employees are facing? Some of the issues Frito-Lay workers have been describing are truly alarming.
I’m not sure. In light of these general trends, the broad-based attacks against the labor movement that took place in the late 1970s and the early 1980s eroded the social infrastructure necessary to safeguard workers. Effective Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforcement has been weakenedin the last few years. frito lay strike boycott list, There’s not enough number of unions to guarantee that workplaces are protected. These are long-term developments.
It’s possible to say that the situation got worse over the past four years due to the fact that some of the tools we could use to tackle the major effects of economic inequality and the way it impacts workers and workplaces were discarded. There wasn’t much great staffing on the top level, and a significant reduction in our federal workers. We really need those kinds of institutions.
The economy is not taking charge of these types of issues. The evidence from the economy suggests that the economy cannot simply self-regulate to make sure that workplaces are safe. And we require institutions, which includes the government as well as the labor unions, to ensure that power is balanced.
For many people, it’s good to have the ability to take action to feel that they can be supportive of workers’ actions, no matter if it’s tweeting about a hashtag or boycotting or something else. But, is it really helping? So, for example, does my decision not to purchase Doritos for the next week have any impact?
It’s beneficial for everyone to be aware. Social media and boycotts can be effective tools to increase public awareness. However, frito lay strike boycott list, what is needed is reforms to the policy environment which includes changing the labor law and improving the efficiency that is the Department of Labor after four years of being sacked. This is the only thing we must do to reverse around these oppressive forces.
To make these policy changes it is necessary to have greater public support, which is why people are voting for labor-friendly politicians, and they are pushing lawmakers to adopt legislation that benefits workers. This is the kind of support we require. It’s not going be one-time boycotts in response to whatever group action garnered more media attention the first step to making that happen is to increase the consciousness of the public.
Could you elaborate to a bit more about what the bigger-scale solutions would be? It’s not difficult to believe that you sent tweets about the Frito-Lay employees or some other issue and feel that you’ve done something to help.
We feel great when we perform these actions. However, it can be the opportunity to believe that it is all about Frito-Lay. It’s not. It’s the broad patterns of economic inequality and the outsized power of corporations. We need things like broad structural changes.
The first step is to Protect the Right to Organize Act ( the PRO Act) The PRO Act is an act that has been introduced on the Hill numerous times, which would allow workers to join unions. It’s the first step towards making it easier for workers to join unions. that we’ve encountered in unionization throughout the country. Employers are comfortable violating the law as well as infringing on workers’ rights to work because they have no recourse. Why would they not take illegal actions to stop unionization when they can escape punishment? What if the fines aren’t that high?
It’s good to unite under the old system however, there’s been a shift within the business sector that suggests we must be able to think about the future in a more expansive way. We have large companies with power across the country. We have a fractured workplace. This means perhaps employees who clean Frito-Lay’s factory Frito-Lay factory aren’t employed by Frito-Lay but rather are employed by a third-party. If you’re working under the joint employer standard, it could mean that if the one who cleans and work for a company, but not at Frito-Lay and you’re employed by Frito-Lay, then Frito-Lay is liable to ensure safety at work, even although they’re not your primary employer.
The next step is something that resembles the concept of sectoral bargaining. There are proposals that could allow for easier organizing and bargain across different sectors.frito lay strike boycott list, In the absence of any actual collective bargaining agreements it is possible to establish worker councils which could assist in setting the safety of workers and work standards.
The first step is of adopting the PRO Act and raising the minimum wage, as well as the set of policies that are introduced each year, and haven’t gained much traction. We must also consider how the economy changes over the last 50 years, and what we can overhaul our institutions and laws in order to reflect the changing nature of the economy.
If the real answer is laws and enforcement what can an ordinary consumer do? What are you supposed to do to assist?
The old saying that there is no morally acceptable consumption in capitalism is valid. We can’t make vast-scale changes by making the individual choices we make in our consumption.
The financial hit that Frito-Lay could face over the next few weeks will not force them to alter their business model. If their model of business is one of exploitation, this is the bottom line. The loss they make for a few weeks will not force them to completely restructure.
People can participate in building a movement, such as the racial justice movements of last summer. They can also participate in demonstrations and joining picket lines. They can also advocate for decision makers by voting for lawmakers who support reforms that benefit workers and holding them accountableby and putting pressure on them. We need both. Our history has proven that we require movement building in addition to reforming policy It is impossible to combine the two.