DUBLIN, Ohio - "This is corporate greed at its finest," stated Ohio state Rep. Dan Stewart, addressing an angry crowd of unionists and supporters at Wendy's headquarters here. "At some point we have to demand to know; ‘Just how many billions are enough? Just exactly how low should worker's wages and benefits be driven down to? And, ultimately, who exactly is supposed to buy their burgers when we reach that point?'"
Central Ohio unionists and supporters braved cold weather to demand that Wendy's corporation stop its holiday assault on union bakers, their families and the nearby community of Zanesville.
"I know one thing," said United Food and Commercial Workers member Joan Fluharty, "I've eaten the last Wendy's burger I'll ever eat. It's just getting to the point that these stinking, greedy corporations will take everything we have, everything our families and communities have, and all just so they can get richer! This has to stop!"
For over 30 years bakers in Zanesville, members of Bakers Local 57 have produced all the buns for Wendy's. They've had a decent relationship with management and have supported their families with good paying jobs, health care and have retired with real pensions. They've been a solid support for the Zanesville community, paying taxes, supporting local schools, etc. When Dave Thomas started Wendy's, it was a local, family owned business, with decent food at fair prices that treated its workers decently. Now all that is changing, due to an epidemic of corporate greed.
Recently, Wendy's was taken over by another corporate giant; Arby's. Not content with the massive profits they're now making, Arby's has issued demands that the workers in Zanesville give up their health care, one vacation week and job rights. Even worse, they are stealing the retiree's health care and wiping out all pensions for new retirees.
"This is just outright corporate greed at its most vicious, and this at holiday time," stated Bakers Union Business Agent Vester Newsome. "We need to stand together and draw a line somewhere to protect regular working families. We're going to stand up for justice and we ask the public to stand with us!"
The Bakers have taken a unanimous strike vote, but hope that they don't have to exercise that right. They're asking the public to not eat at Wendy's at this time, and to call corporate headquarters, 614-764-3100, to demand that the new owners stop trying to destroy unions and communities.
"Sometimes it's just plain too much, and we have to draw a line in the sand and say, ‘No damn more, it ends here,'" said Walt Workman, secretary treasurer of the Central Ohio Central Labor Council. "The Bakers are going to go national with this campaign and we're going to do everything in our power to help them. I think the rest of labor and the American people will support justice when they hear what's going on here!"
Photo: www.bctgm.org/linked sites/JusticeForWendysBakers/