The Kellogg Company said it plans to replace plant workers who have been on an almost eight-week strike. In a series of statements covering the ongoing dispute, the cereal giant said that after a lengthy discussion with The Bakery and Confectionery Workers International Union of America (BCTGM), negotiations fell apart.
“We will continue to run our plants effectively with hourly and salaried employees, third-party resources, and temporary replacements, and now where appropriate, hire permanent replacements,” the statement read.
It concluded, “Our first choice is to have our employees return to work. We continue to welcome those who choose to return to work, as we have since the strike began. Employees seeking to do so can contact their HR manager.”
The BCTGM called for a strike by its roughly 1,400 members in early October at Kellogg plants located in Battle Creek, Michigan; Omaha, Nebraska; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee.
At issue, the union said, is the Company’s implementation of a two-tier employment system that would essentially take away benefits from the plant employees, and slowly take away employees’ rights to unionize. It continued that Kellogg threatened to move the company to Mexico, and take away an increase in wages.
President of BCTGM Local 3G, Trevor Bidleman, said that the executives were making it clear that they didn’t value their employees. “Going on strike is hard, especially when the holidays are right around the corner… We are fighting for better wages, safe working conditions, an end to the two-tiered wage system, and a fair contract. Our strike will continue until Kellogg invests in its people— its workers— just like founder W. K. Kellogg said it would.”
However, in a lengthy October statement, Kellogg rebutted the union’s claims, saying the workers’ advocates were misguided and that none of their accusations were true. The Michigan-based company insisted every employee was given a fair wage, that every employee that worked over 40 hours had volunteered for the extra time, adding that management looked at expanding to hire a 4th shift so there would be more time off available. The company said the union’s allegation about a move to Mexico was “completely false.”
Kris Bahner, the Kellogg Company spokesperson, said in the news release that the company valued all of their workers and that the union had misrepresented their proposals. She continued that while the company was willing to continue negotiations, “[W]e have a responsibility to our business, customers, and consumers to run our plants, despite the strike. We are continuing operations with other resources and hope that we can reach an agreement soon.”
In a brief disclosure last Monday, Kellogg Company said an agreement was reached to continue negotiations Tuesday and Wednesday.
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Morgan Nicole Veysey is a reporter for The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow her on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Kellogg Workers on Strike” by BCTGM.