Protests at the Frito-Lay plant in Topeka, Kansas have now come to an end after 20 days. Since July 5, around 600 workers at the plant have gone on strike, demanding better working conditions and a livable wage.

Frito-Lay initially proposed a contract, capping total hours worked per week to 60 and offering a 2% increase in wages over the next two years. However, the workers rejected this contract and went on strike, stating that the wage increase wasn’t substantial enough.

The strike ended last week after the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) and Frito-Lay reached an agreement stating that workers will receive a day off every week and a 4% wage increase over the next two years.

The conditions triggering the strike have been building up for years. In a Labor Notes article, Monk Drapeaux-Stewart — a box drop technician at the Topeka plant — said “Fifteen, 20 years ago Frito-Lay had a really good reputation—all you need is a high school diploma and you’ve got this job with good pay and benefits.” However, the situation, workers say, has gotten much worse in recent years, with wages remaining stagnant and overtime hours increasing.

According to Motherboard, employees are often overscheduled for four extra hours that are tacked on to the end of their eight-hour work day. The workers at Frito-Lay refer to these overtime shifts as “suicides,” because it slowly kills them over time. Frito-Lay has stated that it will eliminate these shifts in its contract with BCTGM.

Overtime was common during the busier seasons of the year, such as summer and major holidays, but recently it has become much more constant, with workers consistently working around 80 hours a week with no days off. Mark McCarter, a palletizer who has been working at the plant for 37 years, told Motherboard’s Lauren Kaori Gurley that he “still [gets] forced to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week.” He also mentioned the mental toll of the constant overtime, describing how it was causing his coworkers’ family life to deteriorate.

Strikers also demanded that Frito-Lay address their low wages. According to employee Cherie Renfro’s letter to the Topeka Capital Journal, workers have not gotten raises in years, merely receiving lump sums instead. McCarter shared similar sentiments, stating that he only received a $600 bonus twice in the last 10 years and never received an actual raise.

In addition to wage and overtime complaints, workers have also stated that the physical work area was highly unsafe as well. Conditions have gotten worse during the COVID-19 pandemic, with employees being forced to work throughout the entirety of quarantine. The building’s temperature went up to 100 degrees, and there were often carts blocking pathways and exits. The visibility was also low, with thick smoke constantly being present in the area. According to Renfro, when workers expressed their concern, management responded with indifference.

In response to Renfro’s anecdote about the worker who collapsed and died, Frito-Lay issued a statement saying that it “wholly rejects the recent allegation as entirely false that an employee ‘collapsed and died’ and the company ‘moved the body and put in another co-worker to keep the line going.’”

Two weeks into the strike, workers asked the public to boycott  Frito-Lay products as well as its parent company, PepsiCo, according to NPR. The factory produces a variety of Frito-Lay snacks, which include Fritos, Doritos, Tostitos, Cheetos, and Funyuns.

News of the strike and boycott had also gone viral on social media, with an outpouring of support and solidarity on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. During the strike, users shared images of the various brands under the Frito-Lay and PepsiCo umbrellas and have also created infographics of alternatives to buy instead.

Now that the strike has ended, workers will return to the factory this week. Anthony Shelton, the International President of BCTGM, said in a statement that “while this victory will go down in the history books of the BCTGM, similar fights are happening across North America where union workers are standing up to employers and demanding respect on the job and a legitimate say over their working conditions.”