CHICAGO (CBS) -- Two weeks ahead of the Illinois primary, plans to downsize the Nabisco plant in Chicago has drawn the attention of two presidential campaigns.
Workers at the Nabisco bakery at 7300 S. Kedzie Av. are fighting the parent company's plan to lay off up to 600 of the plant's 1,200 employees and move the jobs to Mexico.
Larry Cohen, a labor leader with the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, said the Democrat stands with the Nabisco workers.
"Trade, and how we act and fight on trade is a major issue in this campaign," he said.
Republican frontrunner Donald Trump also has said he wants to stop Nabisco's move, and repeatedly has said he would boycott Oreos because of the plan to move jobs to Mexico.
However, Cohen didn't exactly welcome Trump's help fighting the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, which would make such moves easier.
"We do need Republican support to stop the TPP in Congress, because they control the Congress, but no, Donald Trump pits us against each other. The only way we're going to stop this is we unite – whether we're black, white, brown, Native-born, immigrant – and Donald Trump does not help us build that kind of movement," he said.
About 600 jobs would stay at the South Side bakery, which would continue to make Mini Chips Ahoy, Cheese Nips, and other products.
At least 277 Nabisco employees already have received layoff notices, including Michael Smith.
"We are screaming for justice. We're also asking that America will stand with us against this corporate greed, because the only incentive that we see for them is that it is greed," he said.
According to published reports, contract talks between Nabisco parent Mondelez International and the bakers union have stalled after they could not agree on retirement and health benefits. The union has said it is still considering whether to strike or resume negotiations next week.
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