Dayton potato chip producer Mikesell’s is hiring replacement workers to replace about four workers striking the company, the company said Tuesday.
Four of the bargaining unit’s 14 members are on strike while the others remain on the job, the company said.
“We want to assure our customers and consumers that the Mikesell’s Snack Food Co. remains open for business, and we do not expect the strike to impede our operations,” the business said in a statement to the Dayton Daily News Tuesday. “To that point, all routes that are serviced out of our Dayton distribution center are running normally today and are currently staffed either by incumbent route drivers who crossed the picket line or by replacement workers or supervisors.”
The company added: “We want our customers and consumers to know that we have appropriate plans in place to avoid and/or correct potential service interruptions — should any occur — in order to provide the expected level of service and product quality they have come to expect.”
“We are on strike because the company refuses to offer a fair, reasonable contract for these guys to come back to work,” said Alan Weeks, business representative for Teamsters Local 957. “It’s been eight years since the last contract expired, and they haven’t had a raise or any improvements on the last contract since 2012.”
“I’d like to tell you it (the strike) would end today, but that all depends on the company and what position they take,” Weeks added. “We’re willing to go back to negotiations and go back and see if we can get a resolution to this.”
Jennifer Asbrock — a Louisville, Ky. attorney who has represented the company in matters before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) — said Mikesell’s has asked the union “many times” to return to bargaining.
“The company has bargained in good faith the entire time,” she said.
Tension between potato chip producer and its union goes back nearly a decade.
In March 2018, the NLRB backed a federal judge’s order that Mikesell’s pay nearly $240,000 in backpay to union drivers and warehouse workers.
That ruling adopted an earlier recommended order of an administrative law judge. The order totaled $239,888.61, plus interest and backpay, to route sales drivers, over-the-road drivers and warehouse employees, named in a two-and-one-half page list.
Asbrock said Tuesday that all backpay has been paid.
Picketers were outside Mikesell’s Tuesday morning after walking off the job Monday.
There were about 12 picketers on Stanley Avenue outside the facility at around 8:30 a.m.
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Alan Weeks, a representative of Teamsters Local Union 957, previously told the Dayton Daily News that one warehouse employee and multiple route sales drivers and over the road truck drivers are on strike.
We will update this story as more information is available.