More than a month into the BCTGM strike of Kellogg cereal plants in four states, the cereal company and bakery workers’ union appear to be at a worse impasse than ever. The Kellogg Co. filed a lawsuit November 11 against the striking Omaha, Nebraska, chapter of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, alleging that workers on picket lines physically blocked driveways and threatened replacement workers.
The lawsuit lands about a week after BCTGM leadership didn’t let Kellogg’s latest tentative offer to come for a vote, which the union announced November 4. “Kellogg’s continues to insist on takeaways,” the BCTGM said, and despite Kellogg CEO Steve Cahillane’s November 5 plea for the union to allow a vote, allowed the offer to expire.
The BCTGM refused to comment on the Omaha lawsuit, but said it rejected Kellogg’s latest offer for the company’s refusal to alter the proposal, which the union said did not pass muster.
“The company’s last, best and final offer does not achieve what our members are asking for; a predicable pathway to fully vested, fully benefitted employment for all employees with no concessions,” the union said in a statement. “The company came to the table insisting that there will only be an agreement if the Union accepts the company proposal exactly as it has been written. … Therefore, the BCTGM Bargaining Committee rejected the proposal.”
Kellogg responded the following day with a video message from Cahillane asking union members to demand a vote on the contract from union leadership. According to Kellogg, their last, best, final offer dropped previous proposals for a permanent two-tiered pay structure and enhanced benefits for all employees.
“The union continues to insist on proposals that are unsustainable and unrealistic,” Cahillane said in the video, and added that union proposals would be too expensive: “They’ve proposed adding costs that would threaten the future success of our plants and cereal business,” Cahillane said.