CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Chicago workers are protesting outside the home of Nabisco’s CEO because the company plans to move 600 jobs to Mexico.
Among the chanting protestors is 11-year Nabisco veteran Junior Okla. He still plans to get married on May 29th, even though that's now two days after he's scheduled to lose his job at the big South Side bakery plant. He's found plenty of work available, but no job that comes close to his current $26 an hour with full benefits.
“There's a lot of manufacturing jobs,” said Okla.
FOX 32: What do they pay?
“$18, $19, $17, $16. Nothing on that scale,” he added.
Okla’s colleague, Anthony Jackson, also joined the protest at the Kenilworth home of Irene Rosenfeld. She's the chairwoman and C.E.O. of Deerfield-based Mondelez, corporate owner of Nabisco - renowned as maker of the Oreo Cookie.
Mondelez is keeping about 500 jobs at the South Side plant, while moving 600 to Mexico.
Jackson is a Navy veteran and father of three who blames his job loss on international trade agreements, such as the NAFTA treaty with Canada and Mexico.
“Due to the NAFTA agreement, the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has destroyed this country basically. Not only are our jobs leaving, but plants in Indiana are also leaving, going to Mexico and places like that,” Jackson said.
Others, including the Business Round Table, say that despite a loss of factory jobs, the overall numbers tell a different story: NAFTA's been a boost to Illinois' economy; 1.7 million jobs here depend on world trade; it's a sector growing 7-1/2 times faster than the rest of our economy.
The protesting workers don't believe it, though. They're facing smaller pay checks, as well as painful and personal upheaval.
“It's a killer. It's gonna be a killer for my neighborhood and for myself,” Jackson said.