Talks between Ingredion and the union that represents workers at the company’s Cedar Rapids plant have broken down after Ingredion officials brought armed guards to a negotiating session this week.
Paul Iverson of the University of Iowa Labor Center says that’s not typical. “All across the country workers have been sending the message that they’re not going to take business as usual,” Iverson says. “People are demanding better pay, they’re demanding better hours, they’re demanding more respect in the workplace and so it’s a little odd for Ingredion to be using tactics that I thought had gone out years ago.”
A spokeswoman for Ingredion says company employees have received repeated threats of violence, “approximately 100” since the strike began, and security had been present throughout negotiations. Ingredion is a multi-national company that turns vegetables into ingredients used worldwide by a variety of industries. Members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union went on strike at the company’s Cedar Rapids plant on August 1.
The union represents 127 hourly workers at the plant.