After two months of striking, the workers have landed an improved contract.
Since the beginning of October, employees of Kellogg’s cereal plants in Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Tennessee have been on strike, demanding improvements to their benefits, working conditions, and more. This week, the workers, represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, successfully ratified a new and improved contract, bringing the strike to an end.
According to the official statement from Kellogg, the revamped contract raises wages by $1.10 for all 1,4000 represented employees and provides general improvements to all employee benefits. Perhaps more importantly, the contract changes how the company’s tiered pay system works; prior to the strike, employees were paid on two tiers, with newer employees making less money and receiving weaker benefits. The union’s complaint was that it took too long for workers to reach the higher tier of payment, which is why the new contract has a much clearer, swifter path to the higher tier, while maintaining decent benefits for both lower tier and transitional employees.
“We are pleased that we have reached an agreement that brings our cereal employees back to work,” Kellogg CEO Steve Cahillane said in a statement.
“This agreement makes gains and does not include any concessions,” union President Anthony Shelton said in a prepared statement.
Kellogg strike ends as workers approve new labor agreement https://t.co/aZHdERLAaS pic.twitter.com/QrJg02iZfK
— Reuters (@Reuters) December 21, 2021
The members of the union asserted that, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing labor shortage, they’ve kept the cereal plants running with little problem, which gave them additional leverage in negotiations. At one point, Kellogg considered hiring on permanent replacements for all of the striking workers, though this proved to be an extremely unpopular notion both inside and outside of the company, with even President Joe Biden chastising the company for attempting to undermine the negotiation procedure.