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Kellogg's Says It Will Hire Replacements After Striking Workers Reject Latest Contract

Dec. 8, 2021
The strike, which began October 5, stretches now into a third month.

Though a wave of labor actions at companies large and small led some observers to declare the tenth month of 2021 ‘Striketober,’ at least one strike at a big manufacturing name is still ongoing two months later. Kellogg employees represented by the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union, or BCTGM, voted December 7 to reject the latest tentative offer from Kellogg and opted to continue striking for higher wages.

Workers there have been on strike since October 5. In a company statement, Kellogg North America President Chris Hood struck a skeptical tone on whether or not negotiations would continue after almost 20 failed sessions.

“After 19 negotiation sessions in 2021, and still no deal reached, we will continue to focus on moving forward to operate our business,” Hood said. “The prolonged work stoppage has left us no choice but to continue executing the next phase of our contingency plant including hiring replacement employees in positions vacated by striking workers.” Hood insisted that hiring replacements is necessary for business continuity.

While neither party revealed specific terms of the contract, Kellogg said it would have provided “an accelerated, defined path to legacy wages and benefits for transitional employees, and wage increases and enhanced benefits for all.” The BCTGM did not publish specific numbers for how striking workers voted, but said the latest rejection was “overwhelming.”

“The members have spoken,” BCTGM International President Anthony Shelton said in a statement. “The members have spoken. The strike continues.”

BCTGM members have criticized the two-layer transitional/legacy system, under which more senior employees receive a higher tier of benefits and wages, from the beginning of the strike: Back in October, BCTGM regional VP Roger Miller claimed that the two-tier pay system was put in place in 2015 after Kellogg threatened to move jobs to Mexico if the union didn’t approve it. Kellogg has denied threatening to move jobs from the U.S.

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