Striking Ingredion workers in Iowa approve new contract

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A nearly six-month-long strike will end after more than 120 workers at ingredient maker Ingredion voted Sunday to accept a new contract.

The head of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union praised workers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for remaining steadfast throughout the prolonged contract fight. The union didn’t release details about what is included in the new four-year contract.

“This has been a long and difficult fight for our striking members and their families. With each new day on that picket line, fighting for what they deserve, our members grew in strength, courage and determination,” union president Anthony Shelton said. “I could not be more proud of these hard working members who put it all out on the line to fight for a fair contract.”

Officials at the Chicago-based company didn’t immediately respond to questions Sunday. Ingredion has more than 11,000 employees worldwide and reports annual sales of nearly $6 billion. It reported a third-quarter profit of $106 million.

This strike began Aug. 1 as Ingredion workers fought for improved benefits and wages along with stronger seniority and work rules. There have been a number of high-profile strikes in recent years since the pandemic as workers press for more amid the ongoing worker shortages.

Elaine Sweiger, 57, who has worked in Ingredion’s starch department for 27 years, said she believes the prolonged strike paid off.

“It was something that needed to be done, but I’m also glad it’s over,” Sweiger said. “We’re all ready to get back to work. I’m glad we stayed strong because we ended up with a lot better contract than the original.”

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