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10 Dec 2021

USA: Over 1,000 Kellogg workers strike over wages, benefits & working conditions; incl. co. comments

In October 2021, about 1,400 workers at Kellogg cereal plants across the United States went on strike, calling for a 'fair contract' for workers, after their union's existing contract expired.

According to the president of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), Anthony Shelton, the new contract workers were offered included workers giving up quality health care, retirement benefits, and holiday pay. He also reported that the company had threatened to transfer their jobs to Mexico if the workers refused to accept its proposals.

In addition, Trevor Bidelman, president of BCTGM Local3G, and an employee at the Kellogg plant in Michigan, explained that workers were also on strike because of the proposed two-tier system that offered 'transitional', newer staff members fewer benefits and less pay that 'legacy' workers.

In December 2021, Kellogg announced it had reached an an agreement with the union on a new five-year contract for employees, which included wage increases and benefits for all employees, and better terms for transitional employees, allowing employees with four or more years of service to move to legacy positions.

However, a few days later, it was reported that the workers had turned down the agreement, and would continue to strike. Workers said they deserved significant raises, due to the long hours they work and the fact that they kept the plants operating throughout the pandemic. According to Dan Osborn, a plant mechanic and president of the local in Omaha, workers had 'mixed feelings' about the proposal, especially regarding the two-tier system, as few workers at his plant had been employed for over four years.

Following the deal rejection, Kellogg announced it would be permanently replacing all 1,400 striking workers. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and President Biden urged the company against replacing workers.

On December 17, 2021, Kellogg's announced it had reached a second tentative agreement with striking workers.

Company comments can be found below.