Update: Anderson Erickson dairy strike ends

AE Strike signs

About 24 hours after it began, the workers strike at the Anderson Erickson Dairy in Des Moines ended.

The union and AE have agreed to a meeting on October 3rd to discuss their contract differences.  As part of that agreement, workers returned to their jobs at AE at about 9 p.m. Monday, September 24.

Earlier story:

A union workers’ strike might affect the supply of Anderson Erickson dairy products in the Quad Cities and surrounding areas.

Union workers at the Anderson Erickson dairy in Des Moines began picketing Sunday night, September 23, 2012.  AE Director of Marketing Kim Peter confirmed about 300 workers are on strike at the Des Moines facility.

Anderson Erickson supplies dairy products to grocers in the Quad Cities area and across Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas and Illinois.  Affiliated stores in our area include Fareway, HyVee, Target, Wal-Mart and many convenience stores all over Iowa, and in Illinois communities in and around the Quad Cities. 

Peter said the company is working to keep impact on supplies of Anderson Erickson products to a minimum. 

“We are replenishing our product supply as quickly as possible.  Our goal is to minimize any inconvenience to our customers,” Peter said.

The dispute between Teamsters Local 120 and AE relates to the lack of a new contract between the two organizations.  A major sticking point is healthcare costs. 

In the previous contract that expired in March 2012, employees paid nothing for individual health insurance plans and family plans cost $69 per month.

Under a proposed new agreement, employees would have to pay between $15 and $35 per month for individual health insurance and family plans would range from $45 to $105 per month.

“It’s very difficult to balance health insurance and the pension we’re talking about for union employees and remain competitive in the marketplace.  And just the general costs of basic materials that we need. Sugar, cocoa, packaging, even milk.  It’s just gone up dramatically in the last three to four years,” said Anderson Erickson president and CEO Miriam Erickson Brown. 

Workers said they disputed the proposed new contract overall, not just the healthcare cost changes.

The company is based in Des Moines and also has a facility in Kansas City, Kansas.  Peter said the Kansas City workers are not on strike. 

About 600 people work for Anderson Erickson in Des Moines on three shifts, six days a week.

(thanks to our sister station WHO-TV for contributing to this report)

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