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STATE FUNDING USED FOR UNION-BUSTING; EX-KEEBLER WORKERS ABANDONED, UNION CHARGES

STATE FUNDING USED FOR UNION-BUSTING; EX-KEEBLER WORKERS ABANDONED,
 UNION CHARGES
 KENSINGTON, Md., Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The Bakery, Confectionery and Tobacco Workers International Union today charged that the commonwealth of Pennsylvania is deliberately subsidizing the anti- union activities of a British multi-national corporation.
 "Pennsylvania appears ready to totally abandon the former Keebler workers in Philadelphia who were the first victims" of the company's union-busting, said union spokesperson Dave Durkee.
 In answering an invitation to appear before a Pennsylvania House Labor Committee hearing in Philadelphia, the union accused the commonwealth's commerce department and its secretary, Andrew Greenberg, of providing material support for the anti-union strategy of the United Kingdom-based United Biscuits PLC and its Keebler subsidiary through the conduct of the state's industrial development loan programs.
 "U.B. and Keebler's 'union-avoidance' strategy began with the destruction of the jobs and lives of some 900 well-paid Philadelphia union members in the mid-1980s," BCT Vice President Pat D'Angelo charged.
 "The company wasn't interested in financial assistance when the union and city together offered it then. Keebler and U.B. were more interested in getting rid of the workers and the BCT. Now they want the money to open a non-union plant outside Philadelphia," said D'Angelo, the Pittsburgh-based negotiator for the union's biscuit sector. "But they don't want to re-employ the skilled workers they left behind. The state is not only letting them get away with that ... it's paying them to do it," he charged.
 Citing three state business development loans and a federal grant totaling some $4 million to U.B./Keebler's non-union wing -- Emerald Industries Inc. -- and to the borough of Oxford, Pa., the union charged the department with subsidizing the company's effort to follow a "low wage" path of shifting production to "union-free" plants and systematically discriminating against hiring former union members.
 Although the new "Emerald" facility is only 50 miles from the site of the Philadelphia Keebler bakery closed in 1985, the company has refused repeated appeals by the union that it re-employ at least some of the former employees. The state has not made rehiring of the Philadelphia workers a condition of receiving the loans.
 The State Labor Committee has announced that its hearings would examine "the long-term implications of the use of state and federal industrial development seed monies by companies seeking to avoid union representation." The hearings will take place on Oct. 13-14 at the offices of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union on 4th Street between Market and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia.
 Durkee, executive vice president of the BCT (who will testify at the state hearings), and Steve Willard of BCT Local 492 (Philadelphia) noted that Keebler's shutdown of its Philadelphia bakery in 1985 robbed some 900 Philadelphians of work and the ability to sustain their families. Several of those workers will present their stories at the hearing.
 "Now, after a 'decent interval,' Keebler relocates a new bakery 50 miles from Philadelphia, calls it by a new name and, supported by some $4 million of taxpayers' money, will run it non-union," said Durkee.
 "Even after we have shown that the company has lied about their plans, the state hands over the subsidies. We think it is poor public policy for Pennsylvania to throw money at non-union operations offering substandard wages and inferior health care benefits, if any. It undercuts the competitive position of state employers like Nabisco and drags down the living standards of all Pennsylvania workers. It is an outrage, and we intend to fight it all the way," Durkee pledged.
 The BCT represents over 11,000 workers in the baking, biscuit, candy and food processing industries in Pennsylvania.
 /delval/
 -0- 10/6/92
 /CONTACT: Charles Rogers or Ray Scannell of the Bakery, Confectionery and Tobacco Workers International Union, 301-933-8600/ CO: Bakery, Confectionery and Tobacco Workers International Union;
 Keebler ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


DC -- DC013 -- 7094 10/06/92 13:02 EDT
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Date:Oct 6, 1992
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