Kellogg plant workers on strike across the US


katherine of chicago |

M’Niyah Lynn

Workers at the Kellogg Company went on strike because the union contracts have expired, and year-long negotiations between the union and management haven’t been resolved, including negotiations about benefits.

The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union announced that 1,400 of its members at Kellogg Company plants in Battle Creek, Michigan, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Omaha and Memphis participated in the strike.

One of the primary reasons workers decided to go on strike is the conflict that has arisen between them and the company over the company’s demands to decrease employee benefits. Benefits that workers would lose in the proposed system by Kellogg include the loss of offered pensions to new employees, removal of the cost of living pensions and reductions in holiday pay and vacations.

“We’re fighting for our future,” Trevor Bidelman, president of BCTGM Local3G and a fourth- generation employee at the Michigan plant, said according to The Guardian.

Another reason workers decided to strike is Kellogg’s threats to move offshore jobs to Mexico and cutting 212 jobs at the Michigan plant over the next two years. “The layoffs include 174 hourly and 38 salaried jobs,” News Channel 3 said.

Although Kellogg announced it was cutting jobs to streamline efforts, the union represents many employees who are not expected to be out of work soon.

“This is after just one year ago, we were hailed as heroes, as we worked through the pandemic, seven days a week, 16 hours a day. Now apparently, we are no longer heroes. Very quickly you can go from hero to zero,” Bidelman said.

Some workers have also complained that the company has been disrespectful to the union workers in general. With accusations that the company cares more about their profit than employees starting to be thrown around, The Guardian reported.

“They even want to remove our union logo from the cardboard cereal box,” Kerry Williams, a worker in processing maintenance at the Pennsylvania facility, said.

This strike comes among financial news with ith Kellogg’s second quarter 2021 results revealing that their net sales increased 3% from a year earlier.

However, since the plant has been completely shut down, it’s possible that there will be production issues.

“Our core brands of cereal that we make at Kellogg’s are not getting made and they’re not going to be on the shelves,” BCTCM Vice President Paul Walling said, according to another News Channel 3 article.

BCTCM President Anthony Shelton supported workers. He claimed that Kellogg’s response has been to demand workers to “give up quality healthcare, retirement benefits and holiday and vacation pay,” the press release said.

“For more than a year throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Kellogg workers around the country have been working long, hard hours, day in and day out, to produce Kellogg ready-to-eat cereals for American families,” Shelton said.

The Kellogg Company has responded to the strikes by temporarily planning to bring in replacement workers to avoid production disruptions. Kellogg Spokesperson Kris Bahner said the company was “disappointed by the union’s decision to strike,” CNN Business reported.

Bahner also responded saying that the company does provide compensation and benefits for the employees and that the company’s proposal included increasing pay and benefits for employees.