Frito Lay workers enter third week of strike to end ‘suicide shifts’
Topeka, KA – On July 5, more than 800 Frito Lay Workers in Topeka began a strike that has now entered its third week. The workers are members of Local 218 of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) Local 218.
One of the main issues in the strike is the brutal working conditions they face in the manufacturing and warehouse facility they work at. Workers say they are forced in to what they call “suicide shifts” in a manufacturing warehouse where temperatures often exceed 100 degrees. They have endured 84-hour weeks of mandatory overtime, at the same time as they are not being offered raises that would keep up with cost of living.
The workers are in contract negotiations and are demanding an end to the suicide shifts, as well as meaningful pay increases. They have called for a national boycott on Frito-Lay products, as well as those produced by PepsiCo, for the remainder of the strike.
Monk Drapeaux has worked as a box drop technician for over 16 years at Frito Lay. He was seen holding a picket sign he says was made by his daughter in support of the strike and said, “I am on strike to better support my family.” The sign his daughter made features a picture of Rosy the Riveter saying, “We can do it” and “#BOYCOTTFRITOLAY”.
The strikers received an updated offer from management, showing that the pressure from the strike is mounting on them to settle, but, 18 days in, the strikers have continued to hold strong as they fight for improvements in their next union contract.