Conditions at cookie plant raises ire of Girl Scout

Well, this is embarrassing, eh, Girl Scouts?

A second-year Girl Scout in Rochester, N.Y., has forced the national organization to respond to her complaints that workers in a Louisville plant where Girl Scout cookies are made are treated “terribly.”

Lily DeRosia saw this story from the Louisville Courier Journal about the conditions at the plant. It said the workers were required to work overtime to meet the cookie demand — including Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So Lily and 11 other scouts and their troop leader signed a letter that says the scouts had heard about the complaints of the workers at the former Mother’s Cookies plant on Ralph Avenue and “we want to sell cookies made by a company that cares about there [sic] workers,” the Courier Journal says.

The Girl Scouts had refused to comment about the factory when first given the chance to do so by the newspaper. But the girl’s letter made the organization come out of hiding on the issue. It didn’t make much of a difference, however.

Girl Scouts of the USA, which declined to comment before the first article, released a brief statement last week when contacted about Lily’s letter, saying it was unaware of the letter but that the organization “expects all of its vendors to comply with applicable laws and regulations.”

“Both bakers (in Louisville and Richmond, Va.) are union shops and certify that they will comply with laws and standards governing wages, hours and overtime. GSUSA has not been notified of an investigation by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, nor have any employees filed a grievance on this issue,” spokeswoman Kelly Parisi said.

A worker at the plant, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation said she saw a copy of the girl’s letter and hopes it does some good, but “we’re still working seven days (a week).”

Former Kellogg worker Kerise Ison, 59, who quit after 16 years last June, said her blood pressure soared after months of overwork. Her doctor urged her to find another job — and she finally did.

Ison was touched to learn that a Girl Scout felt moved to speak out to Kellogg executives. “That baby’s got more sense than they do,” she said.