Time To Stop Buying Girl Scout Cookies?

Bruce Maples (bruceinlouisville@gmail.com)
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This morning at church, I got the two boxes of Girl Scout cookies I had bought: Do-Si-Dos and Tagalongs. (Yes, I have a thing for peanut butter.) I promised myself I would take them to work, rather than just eat the entire box in one sitting at home.

But after reading a story about working conditions at the Louisville factory where they are made, I may have to just chuck them into the garbage. And not buy another box until things change.

In a front-page story in this morning’s C-J, business reporter Grace Schneider tells of ongoing forced overtime, retribution for complaints, and a union contract that is so vague “you could drive a truck through the language,” according to an analysis by a rep from another union.

The plant was once owned and run by Keebler, but was sold to Kellogg in 2001. (Did you know Kellogg made GS Cookies? Me neither.) Over the past years, the workforce has shrunk from over 700 to half that, even as Kellogg has shifted more production here from other factories.

And here’s the kicker: if you have something scheduled, and then you get overtime scheduled on top of it, you’re expected to work the extra time and forget about whatever you had planned — including Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Having this happen occasionally is what we all deal with; having it be the norm, and getting fired if you complain, is why unions were invented. And yet, the union doesn’t seem to anxious to do anything about it, either.

So we have the worst situation: a company that is only concerned about how much money it can make off its exhausted workers, and a union that isn’t willing to push back. And guess who bears the brunt of it? The hourly workers just trying to make a living.

So enjoy those Thin Mints, and dip those Do-Si-Dos in milk. Just remember while you’re doing it, there’s a worker on Ralph Avenue missing his daughter’s birthday so you can.

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