Work at all of Kellogg Co.’s grain plants in the US was halted Tuesday when 1,400 workers went on strike, but it was not immediately clear how much supply would be disrupted for Frosted Flakes or any of the other famous brands. of the company. Sales of breakfast cereals soared during the pandemic, particularly those of older brands that have nostalgic value. The strike includes Kellogg jobs plants in Battle Creek, Michigan; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Memphis, Tennessee; and Omaha, Nebraska.
The union and the Battle Creek-based company have been in a deadlock at the bargaining table for more than a year, said Daniel Osborn, president of the local union in Omaha. The dispute involves various pay and benefits issues, including the loss of premium healthcare jobs, vacation and vacation pay, and a reduction in 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,” said Anthony Shelton, president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union.
The reported threat to move work to Mexico doesn’t sit well with Osborn.”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 said.
The company insists that its offer is fair and would increase wages and benefits for its employees that it said 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. ready-to-eat-cereal employees that are among the industry’s best,” Kellogg spokesperson Kris Bahner said in a statement.
Osborn said he expects the company to try to bring non-union workers to the plants sometime this week to resume operations and maintain a supply of its products. The company acknowledged that it is “implementing contingency plans” to limit supply interruptions for consumers.
All the plants have continued to operate during the coronavirus pandemic. Still, Osborn said that for much of that time, workers were working 12-hour shifts, seven days a week, to maintain production while so many people were away due to the virus. “The level we were working at is unsustainable,” Osborn said.
Kellogg’s workers are not the first food workers to strike during the pandemic. Earlier this summer, more than 600 workers at a Frito-Lay plant in Topeka, Kansas, walked off the job to protest working conditions during the pandemic, including what they called forced overtime. That strike ended in July when workers ratified a new contract.
Workers at Nabisco plants in five states went on strike in August to protest against plans by Nabiscos parent company Mondelez International to move some jobs to Mexico, among other issues, according to the same bakery union it represents. Kellogg’s workers. That strike ended last month when workers ratified a new contract.
Source: CBS News