JANUARY 1982 - VOLUME 3 - NUMBER 1
Proctor & Gamble hit by union boycott
by Kristin Bergen
The AFL-CIO has endorsed a boycott against Proctor & Gamble, protesting the company's failure to reach an agreement with a local union of the United Steelworkers of America.
The Steelworkers were elected as the bargaining agent for 500 workers at a Kansas City soap plant owned by Proctor & Gamble. But although company and union officials have met over 60 times in the past year since negotiations began, the workers are still without a contract and have not had a pay raise since November, 1979.
Workers at the plant have been subject to layoffs, transfers, department shutdowns, and a denial of bonuses, the AFL-CIO executive council said in mid-November, explaining its decision to support a nationwide boycott which the Steelworkers initiated in early September.
Presently Proctor and Gamble can "make unilateral changes concerning plant benefit plans," says Buddy Davis, director of the Kansas City district for the United Steelworkers. The company is trying "to discourage the employees' enthusiasm for the United Steelworkers of America with a deliberate plant to delay and frustrate," Davis says.
The AFL-CIO executive council urges "all members of AFL-CIO unions not to buy Proctor & Gamble soap products," which include the powder detergents Tide, Cheer, Oxydol and Bold; the bar soaps Zest, Camay and Ivory; and the liquid detergents Ivory, Joy and Dawn.
Davis of the Steelworkers hopes "the boycott will make them (Proctor & Gamble) come to the bargaining table through economic pressure, ready to work toward a decent, honorable, fair agreement."
"The boycott will not help settle matters," a Proctor & Gamble spokesperson told Multinational Monitor, adding that "there is no way to determine" the effect the boycott has had or may have on the company's profits.