Why Your Next Easter Basket May Be Light on Peeps

Just Born confectionary workers have gone on strike during busy holiday push
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2016 2:32 PM CDT
Easter Peeps in Peril as Workers Strike
An Easter without Peeps would be like Christmas without Santa.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Valentine's Day and Easter may feel ages away, but for workers on the Peeps assembly line, those celebrations are right around the corner—and that's why the strike they started Wednesday comes at an especially inconvenient time, CNBC reports. Per PhillyVoice.com, about 400 workers from the Just Born factory in Bethlehem, Pa., took to the picket line just as Peeps production for those two candy-heavy holidays kicks into high gear (though Easter Peeps are churned out all year). The workers' main beefs: a proposal to nix their pension plans, low wage increases, and rising costs for health insurance. "The workers at the company's Peeps plant have devoted much of their lives to producing these iconic … candies," says Hank McKay, president of the union chapter representing the workers, per CNBC. "And the company has benefited from their skills and dedication through soaring profits."

The union had previously submitted a modification proposal for the company's health insurance plan—a change the union says would've significantly slashed company costs—but that suggestion was nixed by Just Born. Instead, the workers voted Sept. 2 for a strike "to maintain the benefits and standard of living they had earned over decades of service," per the union. Just Born isn't saying how much of its Peeps production is affected percentage-wise by the strike, but it does say it wants to find middle ground. "The union has not accurately portrayed our position or our willingness to reach a fair and equitable agreement with its members," the company said in a statement. In the meantime, Just Born is hiring replacement workers to ensure Peeps find their way into next spring's Easter baskets. (The Morning Call dives into the legalities behind the replacement workers.)

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