Just Born Inc., Bethlehem, Pa., union workers went on strike after rejecting the company's latest offer, which involves moving new employees directly to a 401(k) plan, said a news release from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 6.
The union in the news release cited the company proposing to “eliminate” the workers' pension plan as a primary reason for the strike. Just Born is the confectionery company behind such candies as Peeps and Mike and Ike. A strike vote was taken Sept. 2.
“The workers at the company's Peeps plant have devoted much of their lives to producing these iconic Just Born candies. And the company has benefited from their skills and dedication through soaring profits. Workers deserve to be treated fairly with reasonable wage increases and a pension that allows them to retire with dignity,” said Hank McKay, president of BCTGM Local 6.
In a statement, Just Born said the company was proposing to keep existing employees in the pension plan and move new hires exclusively to a 401(k) plan.
The company's sole defined benefit plan, the Just Born Inc. Employees' Pension Plan, is for non-union workers. Which pension plan the union workers belong to could not be learned by press time. The company's 401(k) plan for union workers, the Just Born Inc. Savings and Investment Plan for Hourly Employees, had $11 million in assets as of June 30, 2015, according to the company's most recent Form 5500 filing.
The Bakery Confectionary Union & Industry International Pension Plan had $4.8 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, according to its most recent Form 5500 filing.
Matt Pye, Just Born spokesman, and Mr. McKay, could not be immediately reached to provide further information.