Last week about 1,400 hourly employees at Kellogg Co.'s four ready-to-eat cereal plants rejected a tentative agreement for a new five-year contract. The union workers, who were employed at plants in Battle Creek, MI, Omaha, NE, Lancaster, PA, and Memphis, TN, voted to reject a proposed contract that contained a 3% raise and benefit hikes.
Kellogg's said the contract between the cereal giant and the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) International Union would have provided an "accelerated, defined path to legacy wages and benefits for transitional employees, and wage increases and enhanced benefits for all, among other items."
But after more than a dozen failed negotiations with workers, Kellogg North America president Chris Hood said the two-month-long stoppage has left the company with no choice but to roll out contingency plans, including hiring replacement employees in those positions vacated by striking workers.
"While certainly not the result we had hoped for, we must take the necessary steps to ensure business continuity," Hood said. "We have an obligation to our customers and consumers to continue to provide the cereals that they know and love."
After Kellogg's posted permanent job listings to replace striking workers, President Joe Biden decried the move.
"Permanently replacing striking workers is an existential attack on the union and its members’ jobs and livelihoods," Biden said in a statement Friday. "And such action undermines the critical role collective bargaining plays in providing workers a voice and the opportunity to improve their lives while contributing fully to their employer’s success."
Kellogg said no further bargaining is scheduled.