More than a thousand members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) are currently on strike against the Kellogg Company after failed contract negotiations. The previous contract expired on Oct. 4.
The strike, which started Oct. 5, has halted operations at Kellogg’s plants in Battle Creek, Michigan; Omaha, Nebraska; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee, where cereals including Rice Krispies, Raisin Bran, Froot Loops, Corn Flakes and Frosted Flakes are produced.
BCTGM President Anthony Shelton issued a statement in support of the 1,400 striking workers.
“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,” Shelton said in the statement. “Kellogg’s response to these loyal, hardworking employees has been to demand these workers give up quality health care, retirement benefits, and holiday and vacation pay.”
He added that the company “continues to threaten to send additional jobs to Mexico if workers do not accept outrageous proposals” without regard for the well-being of employees, even while Kellogg makes what he states are record profits.
The company maintains that it has made a fair offer that includes benefits and wage increases for the employees, whom Kellogg reports made an average of $120,000 a year last year.
“We are disappointed by the union’s decision to strike. Kellogg provides compensation and benefits for our U.S. RTEC (ready-to-eat cereals) 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,” Kellogg’s spokesperson Kris Bahner said in a statement.
The company plans to implement contingency plans to deal with supply disruptions, such as internal and third-party resources. However, representatives of the workers say they’re are determined to stand firm.
“The company has a pretty good idea on how long they are willing to hold out, and we are going to stand fast as long as we have to,” Daniel Osborn, president of the local union in Omaha, told Reuters.