Kellogg’s Employees On Strike Over Lost Benefits

Kellogg’s Employees On Strike Over Lost Benefits
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About 1,400 employees of various Kellogg Company (NYSE:K) plants in the U.S., went on strike Tuesday after the expiration of their current union contracts. The the food company has threatened to outsource jobs to Mexico should workers do not accept the company’s terms.

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Ongoing Strike

As reported by The Guardian, the protest includes unions from the Battle Creek, Michigan, Omaha, Nebraska, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee plants.

Anthony Shelton, president of the BCTGM –Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers' International Union– noted in a statement announcing the strike: “The company continues to threaten to send additional jobs to Mexico if workers do not accept outrageous proposals that take away protections that workers have had for decades.”

According to workers, the company has pressed them to give up quality health care, retirement benefits, vacation, and vacation pay.

Meanwhile, Daniel Osborn, president of the local union in Omaha, told NPR that the union and the Battle Creek-based company have been in a stalemate at the bargaining table for more than a year. The unionist ensured that all plants continued to operate during the coronavirus pandemic, but in 12-hour shifts and seven days a week, to maintain production.

“We had to work through this Covid for the last two years and they’ve just shown disrespect for the union name. They even want to remove our union logo from the cardboard cereal box,” processing maintenance employee Kerry Williams said.

At Loggerheads

The company insists its offer is fair and would increase wages and benefits for its employees who earned an average of $120,000 a year in 2020.

In a press release, Kellogg's spokesman Kris Bahner said: “We are disappointed by the union’s decision to strike. Kellogg provides compensation and benefits for our US RTEC employees that are among the industry’s best.”

“Our offer includes increases to pay and benefits for our employees, while helping us meet the challenges of the changing cereal business.”

He also expressed that he remains willing to continue negotiations to “achieve a fair and competitive contract agreement that recognizes the important work of the employees and helps ensure the long-term success of the plants and the company.”

Last year, the sales of cereal grew over 8% given the increased demand during the peak of the pandemic, and the company reported $1.25 billion in profit.

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