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American Licorice Releases Statement On Workers Strike

Management says the contract the company is offering to its union employees provides comprehensive healthcare coverage, a pay raise and an increase in retirement pay.

On Thursday evening, the American Licorice Company issued the following statement to Union City Patch:

On Monday, Dec. 5, members of the Bakery Union, Local 125, employed at s Red Vines factory in Union City, Calif. walked off their jobs, after several months of contract negotiations. The final contract offer from the Company, which was rejected by these Associates, includes continued company paid health insurance, a wage raise, and an improved retirement benefit. 

The key parts of the Company’s offer are:

  • 30 cents/hour pay raise retroactive to August 29, 2011 with a 35 cents per hour pay raise in 2012 and another 35 cents in 2013.  This is roughly 5% over the three-year life of the contract.
  • The Company will continue to pay all premiums for health insurance for Associates and their eligible dependents.  In addition, the company will pay all of the insurance deductible amounts in 2012, as  well as half of all deductible amounts in 2013 and 2014.  Once the deductible is reached, the plan pays at 100% with in-network care providers. There is no co-pay or co-insurance after a deductible is met.
  • A doubling – to $10,000 – of the lump sum payment the Company provides to Associates who retire, on top of a monthly pension.

The specifics around the healthcare benefits include:

  • Associates will continue to have a choice between Kaiser or a PPO insurer. 
  • In 2012, the Company will fund a health savings account (HSA), at the full cost of the deductible amount in our plan - $3,000 for a family and $1500 for an individual.  This means Associates will, in effect, have free health care in 2012. 
  • The Company will pay into Associates’ HSAs half of the cost of the deductible in 2013 and, again, in 2014.  If  Associates have not used the entire amount paid into their HSA in any given year, they can always use leftover HSA money in future years or carry these funds into their retirement.
  • Money the Company contributes to an Associate’s HSA is his or hers– forever.  If it is used for approved health-related purposes, there will be no federal tax on it.

We regret these long-time and highly valued Associates have decided to walk away from their jobs over the terms of this offer, which provides comprehensive healthcare and competitive wages in the market.

We will continue to uphold our commitments to our customers by making timely shipments and to our consumers by having fresh Red Vines Candy available on store shelves. It is our hope that all Associates return to work as soon as possible to assist in this effort.

Mona Taplin December 09, 2011 at 04:56 PM
In todays economic situation that sounds exceptionally good to me. Unions do serve a very valuable asset to workers, but workers need to understand that a company can't give them all the benefits they want. The higher the pay and benefits, the higher the cost to the consumer and sometimes prices the product out of the market. We all have to accept responsibility for taking care of our own needs too.
Rob December 09, 2011 at 09:53 PM
Hi, if anyone from American Licorice company sees this and you're looking to hire replacements, I'd love to apply. You are offering a very generous package and I'd be happy to have a job with you and replace one of your ungrateful walk-outs.
Nadja Adolf December 09, 2011 at 11:23 PM
More generous than the health plans offered to high technology engineers.
Mona Taplin December 10, 2011 at 12:38 AM
You are right Nadja. Many employers hiring skilled workers today are cutting back on benefits because they have become so darned expensive.People need to start relying more on themselves than on employers and retirement entitlements.
WalterPagan December 10, 2011 at 07:48 AM
This could be ideal for someone who nobody wants to cover. It's an opportunity to get coverage subsidized by your fellow American. Learn more about it at "Penny Health" online
WalterPagan December 10, 2011 at 07:48 AM
The Affordable Care Act, President Obama's health-care overhaul passed by Congress last year, was designed to make it easier for Americans in situations like Verone's to get health insurance BTW check "Penny Health" for more information
Fixit December 11, 2011 at 12:21 AM
Rob...if ALC is to hire you, you would probably not recieve any benifits at all, the goal is to eliminate the union and do as they see fit. All the overtime that is forced on the workers takes its toll on them. Overtime is good money in your pocket for the time but not one single cent after 40 hours goes towards any pension. Overtime is cheaper than hiring another body. Most of the work is highly physical, monotonous and the conditions can be extreme in the summer months and you will be working graveyard. Please apply at the front office and wear your sunday best because we like to hire people who don't like to get dirty or break a sweat
Tim December 11, 2011 at 12:38 AM
So you mean you aren't being paid time and a half for your overtime? You should get on the phone to the Department of Industrial Relations because that would be illegal. Do you honestly think your work conditions are so bad as they couldn't replace you in a second? Please, there's already one person on this thread that would take your job and I'm sure with 10% unemployment, there are countless others.
angelica December 11, 2011 at 10:20 PM
fromsomeone on an outside point of view, can criiticize all they want.these employees have been working hard for the company many years.for ex : if they work from 2 to 11 andtheir shift is done and theyre ready to go home, they are asked to work overtime until 3 am and most of the time its mandatory why? because its cheaper to them than hiring people from other agencies or what not. overtime sometimes not being optional should be illegal. Under these conditions employees have been working and they have been hard working commited employees.American Licorice sells Licorice all over the US and can afford heatlhcare to their employees because they once could afford it and in fact were in contract 10 years with the Union to provide Kaiser health care to their employees why cant they afford it now, they continue to seel and there'smso much demand for theiir candies more demand than ever because they make their emloyees work overtiime because there is so much demand than ever! yet they cant afford healthcare? talk about cheapening the human life.totally not right especallt for fulltime long term employees that have families and getting to mid age this can be your dad or mom!!think.
angelica December 11, 2011 at 10:32 PM
employees need benefits, AMERICAN Licorice did make an offer to the Union to contract for 3 years that an employee would be covered but they had to pay 1,500 a yr per individual or 3,000 per yr for family.theunion denied that offer because 1st.$1,500-3,000 that is a lot for a low class EMPLOYEE to afford. 2nd.under that agreement the company after those 3 years would remove the union from their employees leaving them with no benefits .. no pension retirement, and no union protection. do yes they would get benefits and a little raise but under the condition that in 3 years there's no union. Unions are important for protecting employees. We need these companies but they also need us and we are human beings that need healthcare benefits. 3rd.but once the union said no to american licorice and denied that unfair offer, american licorice sent out letters to all its employees stating that if they want to come back to work they can but under no union no benefits nothing. talking about cheapening the human life, no benefits what so ever. so they offer they made had been void.now its nothing. AND YES.the economy is bad unemployment has went up to 10% but because of that iits not ok and not FAIR that multimillion rich companies take advantage of this and cheapen the human life by not providing adequate health coverage and retirement benefits that these employees that have been working for YEARS(5-20 plus YRS) that RELIED on healthcare and retirement pension. an its gone.
XiolaBlue December 18, 2011 at 05:20 AM
Multi million dollar company? I've never even heard of Redvines- must be a west coast thing. I think these people think they work for this huge company when in all actuality this place is small potatoes. Let's hope the union doesn't force another company out of business... I guess forcing the big three to fall wasn't enough.
Shimma January 07, 2012 at 02:58 AM
You are someone from American Licorice Company. Stop talking to yourself, troll. You guys do that on your website too, post stuff from fake accounts and then answer them from your official American Licorice account for PR. Lame. BOYCOTT REDVINES!!! I passed out Boycott redvines flyers for 2 hours today in san francisco!! Printing 300 more tomorrow... Flyers are expensive though, will have to come down and join the picket soon. Im bringing down some coffee tomorrow!
d January 09, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Leaving the health care issue out of this completely, a 5% pay increase over 3 years is less than inflation, so in effect the workers take home less and less every year thanks to "generous offers from management". I grew up eating redvines but will never eat them again, I also need to make sure these jerks don't make any of my other favorite treats, treat labor like crap and the people will crap on your profits.
d January 09, 2012 at 08:28 PM
American licorice seriously miscalculated this union busting, Occupy Oakland on the scene now???? Crazy.
TonyG January 10, 2012 at 05:47 AM
Wow!! 100% medical. You should be soooooo lucky to even have that in this day in age. Very few companies offer that. If you want to understand this, ask someone who has co-pay and what it costs out of pocket. Then will you realize how lucky you are... very lucky.
David January 10, 2012 at 06:37 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. Looking a gift horse in the mouth during, well lets just be honest, a depression is not very intelligent and unfortunately the Unions are steering these people straight into the abyss. A serious gut check and wake up call is in order by these employees. Shame.
You January 15, 2012 at 07:06 AM
so what now what about the people who thought they might get hired? This is the 2nd time this Company has done this.
You January 15, 2012 at 07:13 AM
They need 2 take it off Positions Available on craigslist if they are not going 2 be hiring.

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