Kellogg’s to replace some striking workers after talks stall

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After talks broke down again, Kellogg plans to introduce permanent replacements for some of its 1,400 striking grain plant workers.

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OMAHA, Neb. — Negotiations broke down again after Kellogg announced plans to introduce permanent replacements for some of its 1,400 striking grain plant workers.

Michigan-based company Battle Creek said on Monday it failed to reach an agreement with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union so it will continue to operate its plants with salaried workers and outside workers as part of its plan. moving forward together.

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Kellogg’s employees have been on strike since October 5, and now they must continue to picket through Thanksgiving because talks are not scheduled to resume until the week of December 6.

“We understand the hardship that the protracted strike represents for our employees,” the company said in a statement. “After 15 negotiation sessions in 2021 – and no proposal for membership has been put to vote – we are left with no choice but to move into the next phase of our contingency to serve the short-term and long-term interests of our customers and consumers. Is. plans. ,

The Kellogg company said the plan includes continuing to use temporary workers to operate its plants and in some cases hiring permanent replacements for striking workers.

The union and company are struggling to reach an agreement on how to address Kellogg’s two-tier system of uses that gives new workers lower wages and fewer benefits. The company said it has proposed a plan for workers to move up to a higher legacy pay level after four years of experience, but the union is not satisfied with the company’s offer.

Currently, less than 30% of employees working at the plants receive a salary, creating a wedge within the union ranks.

Kellogg’s strike covers four plants at Battle Creek; Omaha, Nebraska; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee, which makes all brands of Kellogg’s cereal, including Frosted Flakes and Apple Jack.

The strike has intensified, with the company going to court earlier this month to obtain an order that sets out guidelines for how workers behave on the picket line in Omaha. The company complained that striking workers were blocking the entrance to its grain plant and threatening replacement workers, but union officials denied any wrongdoing.

The union believes it has an advantage in contract negotiations due to the ongoing widespread labor shortage in the economy. Union members have also said they believe they deserve more after working longer hours during the coronavirus pandemic over the past 18 months.

In a more recent strike, earlier this month more than 10,000 Deere employees returned to work after receiving a 10% pay hike and better benefits in a new six-year deal.

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