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Virginia Hershey plant workers vote against unionizing

“National Labor Relations Board” – Google News

2022 03 26

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Workers at a Hershey’s manufacturing plant in Stuarts Draft, Virginia, voted against forming a union Thursday.

According to a Hershey Company spokesman, nearly 80% of the 1,068 workers who voted in a mail-in election opted against joining the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers’ International Union. The results are preliminary until the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) certifies the election.

The Stuarts Draft plant, located in Augusta County, primarily manufactures Hershey products that contain peanuts, including Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Two of the seven Hershey plants in the U.S. are unionized.

There are about 1,400 hourly employees at the plant who were eligible to vote, and including salaried workers, the plant employs roughly 1,500 people, Hershey spokesman Jeff Beckman told 8News.

“We appreciate the active engagement of our Stuarts Draft teammates to make their choice on whether they want representation at work,” Beckman wrote in a statement. “Now that the vote is completed, we are refocusing our attention on bringing all of our employees together as “one Stuarts Draft” and continuing to build the collaborative and cooperative culture that has made our plant great for 40 years.”

Beckman’s statement is the same one posted on wearehersheysd.com, a website set up by the Stuarts Draft plant that shares information about labor unions but that makes its opposition clear. The site claims that recruitment in Stuarts Draft is hard and unionizing would make it more difficult, and that a union “gambles with employees’ wages and benefits.”

The website does provide answers to several anonymous questions, including: “Why are you resorting to disgusting union-busting techniques?” and “If a union is so bad for workers then why did Hershey go out of its way to hire a union buster to create this website to try and convince workers to form a union?”

“We are not ‘union busting’ —— Hershey Stuarts Draft is not unionized nor has it ever been since the plant opened 40 years ago.  Hershey has chosen to provide education on the topic of unionization, including the law, the process and the rights of employees. Including the right of employees to refrain from participating in union activities if they want,” the response to the first question reads.

The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers’ International Union did not respond to a request for comment Friday.