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Aldermen show support for those affected by Nabisco layoffs

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Aldermen Wednesday voiced support in favor of a resolution urging Mondelez International, the maker of Oreo cookies and other popular snacks, to reconsider its move to ship hundreds of jobs away from the Nabisco bakery on the Southwest Side.

“These CEOs are manipulators of wealth rather than creators of wealth,” said Michael J. Smith, a laid off employee, who worked for more than four years at the Nabisco bakery until being laid off by the company on March 23.

Smith told members of the City Council’s Committee on Economic Capital and Technology Development that the company had abandoned those who have made Oreo their “billion dollar cookie.”

Smith, wearing an Oreo T-shirt of a company he had worked under for years with his black blazer thrown over, shared his story of being laid off by the company and what is was like to work for them.

Smith told committee members the company is taking jobs out of the community and then retuning the product to be purchased by them. They are “defined by greed, pure and simple,” Smith said.

The 59-year-old father of four has been out of a job for over five months. With a daughter at Columbia College Chicago, Smith said it has been hard to make ends meet.

“How are people like Michael going to be able to buy products like Mondelez if they don’t have a job,” said Robert G. Reiter, Jr., secretary-treasurer for the Chicago Federation of Labor.

During questioning from committee members, Reiter said in the last 20 years, Mondelez had been provided with over 90 million as incentives.

During questioning from committee members, Reiter said in the last 20 years, Mondelez had been provided with over 90 million as incentives.

Reiter said there has been “considerable public investment.”

Committee members showed support for the resolution and for taking steps to create some sort of accountability measure on companies.

“We want to bring some consequences,” said Ald. Proco “Joe Moreno” (1st), chairman of the committee.

“We want to be a model in the community of what happens when you take jobs out,” Smith said in response to Moreno.

After the meeting, Smith said the boycott of Nabisco products produced in Mexico was gaining momentum and national attention.

Smith said he has spoke with Democratic presidential nominee Hilary Clinton and she listened to his concerns. Smith also mentioned their campaign has been endorsed by AFL-CIO.

Ald. Derrick Curtis (18th), the main backer of the resolution, gave other aldermen an overview of how he said Mondelez is moving jobs from Chicago to Mexico.

Curtis said he is hoping the City Council will visit the facility. Curtis wants to reach a solution to hold companies nationwide accountable and create a “safety net” that will keep them from leaving.

The resolution will be brought before the City Council Wednesday Sept. 14. Curtis said the resolution had “been a long time coming.”

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