A lot of Iowa workers lost their jobs when the Farmland Foods plant just across the northern border, in Albert Lea, Minnesota, burned last July. Now that the company’s decided to rebuild, union workers wonder if they’ll keep the seniority they earned before. Derby Olsen is president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local six. One article in the contract says if you’re laid off for twelve months you lose seniority and they’ll discuss it before July 9. He’s optimistic they’ll honor seniority because such workers are valuable. Farmland has closed down plants in Dubuque and Carroll, Iowa in the past couple years but is moving more operations into value-added processed foods, like the Albert Lea plant, because its profits are higher there.
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