Update: After overwhelmingly voting down the last tentative agreement with Kellogg, striking union members will decide Sunday on a new proposal. This deal provides cost-of-living adjustments and a raise for all employees of $1.10 per hour, the AP reports. The rejected contract included 3% raises, with only some employees eligible for cost-of-living adjustments. Our original story from Dec. 2 follows:
Kellogg and a union representing 1,400 of the company's employees announced Thursday that they've reached a tentative deal on a contract that would end the strike that's been going on for two months. Workers are scheduled to vote Sunday on the proposal, which involved federal mediation, NPR reports. The five-year deal calls for 3% pay raises for senior employees, plus cost-of-living adjustments later, and maintains current health care benefits, per ABC, though it adds dental and vision coverage.
Raises for newer hires would be based on length of employment under the cereal company's two-tiered wage system. The proposed contract specifies how less senior workers can become legacy employees. The deal does not necessarily mean workers will return to their jobs, after walking off Oct. 5 at plants in Battle Creek, Mich.; Lancaster, Pa.; Memphis, and Omaha. More than 10,000 John Deere workers ended their strike last month only after winning larger wage increases.
The president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union issued a statement in which he didn't claim victory or even endorse the tentative agreement, per CNN. "As always in our union, the members will have the final say on the contract," Anthony Shelton said. On the picket line in Omaha on Thursday, strikers saw the deal as a sign of progress, at least, but weren't sure about the contract. "We want to go back to work, but we don't want to be taken advantage of," said Eric Dwornicki. Jerry Ellerman said, "I'm willing to stay out here if it's not fair." (Read more labor strike stories.)