The Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union confirmed December 21 that 1,400 striking members at Kellogg Co. cereal factories in four states have voted to ratify a new tentative agreement reached December 16. The ratification includes immediate wage increases of $1.10 per hour and cost-of-living adjustments, but leaves in place the two-tier wage system union representatives lobbied against.
In a union statement, the BCTGM said the agreement also delivers a “significant increase in the pension multiplier” and a moratorium on plant closings through October 2026 without concessions.
According to Kellogg Co., the new contract includes an “accelerated, defined path” to the higher tier of employee benefits and wages reserved for more senior employees. The BCTGM, for its part, said that the contract provides “a clear path to regular full-time employment,” secures new benefits for less-senior “transitional” employees, and does not include a permanent two-tier system.
Striking members are scheduled to return to work the week of December 27, according to Kellogg.
“Our striking members at Kellogg’s ready-to-eat cereal production facilities courageously stood their ground and sacrificed so much in order to achieve a fair contract,” said BCTGM President Anthony Shelton, in a statement. Shelton also thanked AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler for its support of the strike.
Kellogg Co. CEO Steve Cahillane, in a statement, said the company is “pleased” to have reached an agreement. Of the striking employees, Cahillane said, “We look forward to their return and continuing to produce our beloved cereal brands for our customers and consumers.”
The ratification follows a December 16 BCTGM rally in support of the strike that featured Senator Bernie Sanders as a speaker and a December 10 statement from President Joe Biden criticizing Kellogg for planning to permanently replace union-represented employees.
“Permanently replacing striking workers is an existential attack on the union and its members’ jobs and livelihoods,” Biden wrote. “I have long opposed permanent striker replacements and I strongly support legislation that would ban that practice.” Kellogg signaled December 7 that it would look to hire replacement workers after several failed agreement votes.
The union and cereal company have been in negotiations on the latest agreement since September 8 covering 1,400 BCTGM workers at four plants in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Nebraska. After local unions strongly rejected an initial tentative agreement, the BCTGM declared a strike starting October 5.