Careers Employment

Some workers look for other employment

Frito-Lay workers on strike in Topeka are searching for other employment opportunities, pulling from personal savings and even turning to family members for help, as they seek to support themselves during a strike that doesn’t have an end in sight.

This is the second week of the union-led labor strike outside Topeka’s Frito-Lay plant, 4236 S.W. Kirklawn Ave. The strike began just after midnight July 5.

“Those of us who are out here every day, there’s a sacrifice we’re making,” said Esther Fanning, who is participating in the strike after five years with Frito-Lay.

Frito-Lay employees hold signs Monday afternoon while on strike across from the Topeka plant, at 4236 S.W. Kirklawn Ave.

For Fanning, that sacrifice has partly come in the form of not getting to throw a normal birthday party for her twins, who turned 9 this past weekend.

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“I made a sacrifice of having my kids’ birthday here at the picket line,” Fanning said. “We had a little happy birthday. We had some ice-cream cake. I told my kids, ‘When I leave you guys, I come to my family here at work.'”

Esther Fanning, who has worked at Topeka's Frito-Lay plant for five years, stands near the picket line with a sign.

Some union members look for other employment as strike continues

Because of the long hours and steady overtime Frito-Lay employees must work, Fanning said, they have little choice but to bond. And she feels union members are standing together as family, as they speak out against their employer.

Still, that hasn’t kept her from looking for other work as the strike wears on.