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10-cv-00142

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Case Summary: Peters et al v. Kraft Foods Global, Inc., 10-cv-00142 (S.D. Iowa)

This case involves a labor dispute over whether hourly employees at the Kraft Oscar Mayer plant in Iowa should be paid for the time it takes them to change into their required protective clothing and equipment and to walk from the dressing rooms to their work stations.

Plaintiff employees filed this suit in November 2010 under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law asking for unpaid back wages for dressing and walking. Kraft requires employees to wear certain outer garments and protective gear while at work. Pursuant to collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) between Kraft and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Kraft pays for the clothing, launders it, and provides dressing rooms and lockers for storing and changing into the garments. Employees report first to the dressing rooms and then, after donning their provided clothing, walk to their work stations. This procedure is reversed at the end of the day. From 1949 to 1984, successive CBAs provided for 12 paid minutes per day for this. However, in the 1984-1986 CBA this provision was deleted and it has not been the custom of Kraft to pay for this since that time.

Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on these issues. The court heard argument by counsel on August 17, 2012 which is the subject of the posted video. On September 11, 2012, the court ruled that Kraft and the plaintiffs have by the CBAs and by custom and practice excluded donning and doffing from hours worked and that the walking time is excluded by federal statute.

Plaintiffs also asserted federal and State claims for failure to maintain proper records. Those claims will be the subject of further proceedings.

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