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American Licorice, Bakery Union in Federal Mediation

As mediation is held in Oakland on Monday, Occupy Oakland protesters visit the Union City plant in support of the strking workers.

By Bay City News

American Licorice Co. officials are meeting with union leaders at a federal mediator's office in Oakland today to try to settle a strike at the company's Union City plant that began five weeks ago, a union spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman for the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 125 said union leaders wouldn't be available for comment until after the mediation session ends.

A company spokeswoman for American Licorice said company officials also wouldn't comment until later today.

About 175 employees at the Union City plant as a result of a labor dispute over health care, pensions and wages.

A large group of Occupy Oakland protesters came to the plant today to support the striking workers, said Occupy Oakland protester Kevin Griddle. He said Occupy protesters have been coming to the plant for about a week to help American Licorice workers maintain their 24-hour picket schedule.

Griddle said a larger group of protesters showed up at the plant today because an Occupy Oakland general assembly voted Sunday to formally support the striking workers.

When the strike began, union leaders said contract talks with the company began in August, when the previous labor agreement expired, but that negotiations broke down despite the efforts of federal mediators.

American Licorice spokesman Michael Kelly said in a statement on Dec. 5 that, "The company's final proposal to our associates included a pay raise, an improved retirement benefit, and comprehensive health insurance for associates and their families." Kelly said, "We have a long-standing and positive relationship with our associates and despite their rejection of our final offer, we're optimistic that everyone will return to work and the situation will be resolved."

Union leaders said the biggest stumbling block in labor negotiations is health care costs.

American Licorice has its headquarters in Bend, Ore., and has another plant in La Porte, Ind.

Mona Taplin January 10, 2012 at 12:29 AM
People are getting a little tired of picking up the tabs for the messes Occcupy Oakland leave behind so maybe they won't benefit the strikers very much.
David January 10, 2012 at 05:48 PM
If there are any doubters out there that Occupy has not been co-opted by the Unions, one would have to be seriously delusional. This goes beyond the pale, and speaks volumes of the mentality of the Unions and its members. They are willing to cut off their noses despite their faces. This company, ALC has always been a bright star for the our community. I hope the company hires all new employees and leaves the Union strikers left in the dust.

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