U.S. grocers are bracing for potential snack food disruptions, as a weekslong strike at Mondelez International Inc. MDLZ -0.72% facilities prompts fears of shortages in Ritz crackers and Premium saltines.
Grocers across the country are boosting orders of Ritz crackers and stocking up on alternatives in case the strike, now stretching into its fourth week, slows production of the crackers or cookies such as Oreos or Chips Ahoy.
The strike, kicked off Aug. 10 by unionized workers at a Mondelez bakery in Portland, Ore., has since spread to two other bakeries and three distribution facilities in Colorado, Illinois, Georgia and Virginia. Workers are opposing changes to work schedules, overtime and healthcare sought by Mondelez in contract negotiations.
Disruptions to snack production stemming from the strike would mark the latest supply challenge for food sellers since the start of the pandemic last year. Shortages of labor and raw materials in recent months have left retailers short on everything from packaged beverages such as Capri Sun to pet food.
Unionized employees are pushing back against Mondelez proposals that workers see lengthening shifts while cutting into their ability to earn overtime pay, a large portion of many workers’ annual incomes. The company said it is trying to respond to strong demand for some of its products and address disruptions caused by worker absences.