Over 250 Maximus Coffee Group workers in Houston, a majority of who are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) Local 455, went on strike on 10 October. The UFCW said that the workers are protesting the company’s plan to reduce wages from 25 to 50 per cent per hour, reduce retirement benefits, increase insurance premiums, and eliminate overtime pay. Maximus Coffee Group’s United States headquarters is located in Houston. “Maximus Coffee workers in Houston are simply trying to protect middle class jobs and their benefits after working hard to make their company profitable,” said UFCW Local 455 President Bill Hopkins in a statement. “I hope this strike sends a strong message to the company and moves the negotiation process to a successful conclusion.” “I’ve worked at this plant for 41 years and for Maximus Coffee since 2006 when they purchased the plant from Maxwell House,” said Worker Robert Barnes in a statement. “I haven’t gotten a real raise since 2009, and don’t know how I’ll be able to support my family if my wages and benefits are reduced.” A statement on the Maximus Coffee web site confirmed the strike, and said that the company has prepared for the possibility of a work stoppage. “It continues to work diligently to meet the needs of its customers,” Maximus Coffee said in a statement. “It does not anticipate any significant, longterm disruptions to its operations. Maximus has made significant efforts to reach agreement with the union, and it continues to stand ready, willing, and able to meet with the UFCW at the negotiating table to bargain in good faith.” The UFCW represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries.