Media that empowers working people – that's how we build a More Perfect Union.

Don't Miss a Video!

Access our exclusive reporting and rapid response actions directly in your inbox, so you don’t miss a beat in the fight for working people nationwide.

Be a part of a community backing up independent journalism with action.

Ideas

Have a story to tell or idea to share?
Email [email protected]
© 2021 More Perfect Union Action

Together we can build power for working people.

We’re asking questions that really matter, and telling the stories of people who really need to be seen and heard.

You can support our work by donating today.

Amount

Make It Monthly

Don't Miss a Video!

Access our exclusive reporting and rapid response actions directly in your inbox, so you don’t miss a beat in the fight for working people nationwide.

Be a part of a community backing up independent journalism with action.

How Workers Took On A Manufacturing Giant—and Won

Ingredion factory workers went on strike for more than 6 months and—with generous support from their community—won a new contract with better pay and benefits.

YouTube Thumbnail

Jeff Blazek: What Ingredion spends in one month to keep us out here in the street is all of our salaries for one year.

Ingredion workers in Cedar Rapids have been on strike for more than 6 months. The specialty ingredient manufacturer brought in record revenue of almost 7 billion in 2022 but tried to pay its workers less and cut their benefits.

James Kirsten: This is mainly a starch production plant, industrial grade starch. So most of the starch is used in paper production, cardboard manufacturing, printing paper, tobacco rolling paper, some textile work where they coat, say, cotton when it goes to weaving machines.

Jeff Blazek: They took our contract and threw it out and came up with a completely different contract.

Trenton Halverson: The company is just taking and taking and it’s time for the people to stand up and get at least their share for the work that we do inside of the plant. 

The changes that they wanted to make in our contract was basically control us by taking away our vacation, our guaranteed days off, increasing our insurance, changing most of our benefits, changing to 12-hour days, not paying us time and a half for our time after we work 8 hours.

James Kirsten: We would also be on call with no compensation for our days off, meaning they can call us in whenever they wanted on our days off. Or if we were planning a trip with your family or something, you don’t have guaranteed days off. How do you have a home life, a family life, a social life, anything? You can’t. You’re at their beck and call.

Augusta Zapo Kruger: As a mom, I can’t afford to work more or be forced to work days off when I want to have a quality life with my children. 

James Kirsten: We’ve been out a very long time, going on six months now.

Augusta Zapo Kruger: I have had to take a new job. I won’t go back in, I don’t want to cross the line. I’d rather suffer, work elsewhere than take away what we’re doing.

Ingredion Worker: Well, I don’t have a spouse or a partner to help with stuff. So it’s been all on me. I helped take care of, I do take care of my parents. So it’s been—I’ve literally went through all my savings. 

James Kirsten: My son’s not going to college now. We can’t afford it yet. We told him to hold back. We’ll probably put off retirement that much longer. We’ve had to switch our medical around. We’ve passed up doctor appointments. We’ve picked up free medicine at the free clinic.

I’m not going to let them beat me. I need to go get another job. My wife’s picking up hours. My kids are trying to work, help out where they can.

Ingredion Worker: This company’s spending as of their third quarter financial reports, $150,000 a day to try to beat these workers. 

The workers held the line with support from the community and the diner across the street.

Jeff Blazek: The help that we received from the community is outstanding. They’ll stop and drop off warm food, water, Gatorades. And Lucita’s, they are a lifesaver for us. The free lunches that they serve for us. Coffee’s free. Warm place to go.

Angelica (Lucita’s Diner): When they start the strike, so we come in early on Saturdays and we did a breakfast for them. We made food for them or their kids, you know, at least once, twice a week. 

On Jan 22, workers voted to approve a new contract. They stopped Ingredion’s attacks on their pay, time off, and overtime. They also won a 15% pay raise over four years. 

Luke Gronewold: This is a union town. We have a lot of different companies that are in this town that they’re all union and we’re all fighting for them as well because they all have contracts that are eventually going to be expiring that they’re going to have to go through and they’re going to have to negotiate and whatever it is that happens here can happen there.

So if we don’t stand up to basically corporate greed, then we’re just setting those companies up to do the same thing to their employees.

The Latest

YouTube Thumbnail
Elon Musk’s Firing Spree Continues: Twitter Janitors Terminated Via Text
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Four Lies Big Oil Is Feeding You To Keep Gas Prices High
Read More
Wall Street Banks Huge Profits Off Surging Credit Card Debt
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
How Workers Took On A Manufacturing Giant—and Won
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Playing with Players’ Lives: How the NFL Hid a Crisis Killing Athletes
Read More
Kyrsten Sinema
Sinema’s Private Equity Donations Keep Flowing After Saving Tax Loophole
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Moderna To Raise Prices Over 400% For Vaccine That Taxpayers Helped Create
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
How The Supreme Court Could Soon Destroy The Right To Strike
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Cities Are Canceling Medical Debt Thanks to Democrats’ American Rescue Plan
Read More
Bed, Bath & Beyond
Bed, Bath & Beyond’s Ex-CEO Got Rich Bankrupting the Retailer, Now Workers Stand to Lose
Read More
Rep. Virginia Foxx
Millionaire Stock Trader To Lead House Labor Committee For GOP
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
The Fight For $20 Comes To New York
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
Inside A Trader Joe’s Union Contract Bargaining Session
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
How This Billionaire Couple Stole California’s Water Supply
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
La Colombe Coffee Workers Are Unionizing
Read More
Kevin McCarthy Vowed To Take On Congressional Stock Trading. Now He’s Gone Silent.
Read More
Schumer Freezes Antitrust Bills After Big Tech Lobbyists Bundled Millions
Read More
YouTube Thumbnail
How Joe Biden Could Stop Shady Union-Busting Practices
Read More
Rail Workers Oust Union President Who Backed Labor Deal
Read More
Before Her Party Switch, Sinema Was Flooded With Donations From Wall Street, Private Equity
Read More