Nearly 100 Bay Valley Foods employees strike against contract negotiations

PECATONICA, Ill. (WIFR) -- Today would have been a typical day at work for some Bay Valley Foods employees until they decided to go on strike. Bay Valley Foods in Pecatonica produces nearly 20,000 pounds of nondairy creamer per hour. Now, that operation has come to a halt as employees are fed up with contract negotiations.

96 Bay Valley Foods employees went on strike around 4 a.m. Members of the Teamster's Labor Union Local 754 say they have been bargaining for months for a contract that keeps jobs in Pecatonica, that provides adequate funding to their pensions and doesn't force them to pay increases to their insurance plans. Members say they are willing to strike as long as they have to.

"These members have been making sacrifices for the past 8 years. Their last contract took away any matching into their 401k so they're fed up and they're out here, unfortunately, fighting for their rights,” said Chuck Murdoch, the special assistant for Teamsters Local 754.

Bay Valley Foods employees tell me if the company were to bring in outside help to operate the equipment used to produce the creamer, it could pose potential dangers as it takes months of training to be able to properly handle the machinery and employees say the product is extremely flammable.

Members of the Teamsters union group say they have spoken to the Mayor and they have his support. There is a contract bargaining meeting set up with Bay Valley Foods for this Tuesday.