Stella D'Oro strike continues, support grows

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BRONX, N.Y. -- Over a hundred members of the NY State United Teachers and the PSC (Professional and Staff Congress -- CUNY) joined Stella D'Oro bakery workers on their picket line in the northwest Bronx here on April 27. They added their signs and chants to the signs and American flag of the 136 members of Local 50 of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco and Grain Millers International Union, who have been on strike since last August.

A busload of NYSUT members arrived to personally deliver the check for $2,500 they had voted to contribute to the strike fund.

President of the PSC Barbara Bowen was joined by others from her union in the spirited show of support. PSC members have been actively supporting the strike for many months.

Joyce Alston, president of the bakery union, was a guest speaker recently at the meeting of NW Bronx for Change, a group that formed out of the Obama campaign.

'Brynwood Partners (limited equity firm that owns Stella D'Oro) have no long-term attachment to the bakery, they want to make money and sell it off.'

Alston said it was 'imperative to win' at the upcoming National Labor Relations Board hearing, which will determine whether Brynwood Partners can permanently replace the strikers. She said the workers have remained united, despite having been out for almost 8 months, without health care and living on their strike benefits. 'Lots of unions are coming in to give support and solidarity.'

Alston, who also addressed the March meeting of the Ben Franklin Reform Democratic Club, said, 'At the May 12 hearing, the judge needs to see that the community is interested in what takes place.'

The strike was triggered by Brynwood's extreme contract demands, which included a wage cut of $5 for 2/3 of the workforce, cuts in health care, elimination of 12 sick days, four paid holidays and one week of vacation, and replacing of the pension plan with a 401K. For more information, go to the union's website,

Donations to the strike fund can be sent to 'BCTGM Local 50 Strike Fund,' 145 Talmadge Road, Suite 17, Edison, NJ 08817 (write 'Stella D'Oro workers' on your check.)