August 19, 2019

Mississippi Cottonseed Co-op Workers Join ICWUC

On June 25, Cottonseed Co-op Corporation workers in Jonestown, Miss., joined the ICWUC. Cottonseed Co-op was previously known as Delta Oil Mill and was represented by the ICWUC until its bankruptcy and closing approximately five years ago. The cottonseed processing facility reopened approximately two years ago under the name Cottonseed Co-op, and the company rehired many of the previous employees from Delta Oil Mill.

When the workers came back to work without a union contract, they found that many of the benefits and protections they once had when they were members of the ICWUC were now gone.

These hard-working men and women knew they had earned and deserved better, so they reached out to their former union representative, Regional Director Ricky Lawrence, in early May. Lawrence sent them cards to sign to see how much interest there was at the facility and in a couple of weeks they had mailed him back signed cards for approximately 80 percent of the current employees. Organizer Ernest Perkins visited with the workers, and then contacted his organizing colleague, Lance Heasley, to come assist in the NLRB petition process.

During the petition process, the organizing team gave the company the option of having a neutral third party count the cards rather than go through with the NLRB election process. The company agreed to have a neutral third party and on June 25, the neutral party determined that 47 of the 57 employees had signed cards. The company then voluntarily recognized the ICWUC as the bargaining agent for the Cottonseed Co-op employees and agreed on a date to begin negotiating a contract.

The ICWUC is proud to welcome back these workers and looks forward to working with them in negotiating their first contract.

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