GREELEY, Colo. – Union members at a JBS USA processing plant in Greeley will decide whether to strike over cuts to employee health benefits.
JBS USA, a subsidiary of Sáo Paulo, Brazil-based JBS SA, and representatives of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 have been in contract negotiations since Aug. 1, 2013. Roughly 3,000 workers are expected to participate in the vote.
In a statement the company said: “JBS is currently in labor negotiations with UFCW Local 7 regarding a new labor agreement at the beef-processing facility in Greeley, Colo. While the company is aware that UFCW may contemplate a strike to influence negotiations, we remain confident that both parties can continue to negotiate in good-faith and arrive at an amicable solution in a timely manner. We will continue our efforts to seek a negotiated settlement that is in the best interests of our team members, union membership, the greater Greeley community and the economic viability of the facility. Out of respect for the negotiation process and the people involved, JBS will limit further discussions to the bargaining table.”
Workers will be voting on an offer that the union's negotiating committee rejected because it "shifts millions of dollars of benefit costs onto its employees by increasing deductibles, co-premiums, prescription costs and out-of-pocket maximums", among other concerns listed on a notice posted to the Local 7 web site.
"The company's demands are unwarranted as they have not stated that the need for such devastating cuts are due to financial reasons," the union said in the notice.
Local 7 must give a 72 hours’ notice if workers intend to end their contract extension before the strike.