Workers at All Kellogg's US Cereal Plants Are on Strike

Union says company has threatened to send jobs to Mexico
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 5, 2021 5:40 PM CDT
Workers at All Kellogg's US Cereal Plants Are on Strike
Cherri Crockett and Towanna Toliver join other BCTGM Local 3G union members in a strike against Kellogg Co., Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, outside the Kellogg plant on Porter Street in Battle Creek, Mich.   (Alyssa Keown/Battle Creek Enquirer via AP)

Work at all of the Kellogg Company's US cereal plants came to a halt Tuesday as roughly 1,400 workers went on strike, but it wasn't immediately clear how much the supply of Frosted Flakes or any of the company's other iconic brands would be disrupted. The strike includes plants in Omaha, Nebraska; Battle Creek, Michigan; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee. The union and the Battle Creek-based company have been at an impasse at the bargaining table for more than a year, says Daniel Osborn, president of the local union in Omaha. The dispute involves an assortment of pay and benefit issues such as the loss of premium health care, holiday and vacation pay, and reduced retirement benefits.

"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," says Anthony Shelton, president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union. The threat to move work to Mexico doesn't sit well with Osborn, the AP reports. "A lot of Americans probably don't have too much issue with the Nike or Under Armor hats being made elsewhere or even our vehicles, but when they start manufacturing our food down where they are out of the FDA control and OSHA control, I have a huge problem with that," Osborn says.

The company insists that its offer is fair. "We are disappointed by the union’s decision to strike. Kellogg provides compensation and benefits for our US ready to eat cereal employees that are among the industry’s best," Kellogg spokesperson Kris Bahner said in a statement. Osborn says he expects the company to try to bring non-union workers into the plants at some point this week to try to resume operations and maintain the supply of its products. The plants all continued to operate throughout the pandemic, though Osborn says workers were putting in 12-hour shifts, seven days a week for much of that time to keep up production while so many people were out because of the virus.

(Read more Kellogg stories.)

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