All Chips Are on the Table in Frito-Lay Dispute

Hundreds of Frito-Lay’s plant employees in Topeka, Kansas went on strike, demanding better pay and working conditions as well as a reduction in mandatory overtime. Some cited 84-hour workweeks and/or 12-hour shifts, and one employee claims to have received only a 77-cent raise over 12 years. Another shocking accusation is that, when an employee collapsed and died on the job, Frito-Lay instructed employees to “move the body and put in another co-worker to keep the line going.”

Business Takeaway: Similar to the story on the IRC and countless others (and with the caveat that these are, at present, unproven allegations), one takeaway is simply that even long-established businesses can sometimes get things very, very wrong. In this case, as related to employee compensation and work hours, Frito-Lay may even not technically be in violation of the law (if they paid employees correctly). Further, while some of the allegations in this case are severe (and, as such, either outliers or perhaps even untrue), they still serve as a timely reminder that the consequences for employee morale, retention, and productivity are real. In this case, approximately 80% of the workforce has joined the strike. What would your employees say about their experience working for you?

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