When cereal giant Kellogg's announced Dec. 2 that it had reached a tentative five-year contract deal with its 1,400 workers that would end a two-month long strike, the greater food manufacturing industry breathed a relative sigh of relief as the union behind the labor strife was set to vote on the resolution Dec. 5.
That was short-lived, however, as both Kellogg's and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) announced Monday that union vote rejected the offer, and the strike — which began Oct. 5 — remains. That deal was set to provide 3 percent raises; cost of living adjustments throughout the second through fifth years of the contract; and continuation of workers' current health benefits.
Read Dec. 7 statements from both sides below:
We are disappointed that the tentative agreement for a master contract over our four U.S. cereal plants was not ratified by employees.
The tentative agreement would have provided an accelerated, defined path to legacy wages and benefits for transitional employees, and wage increases and enhanced benefits for all, on top of what is already an industry-leading compensation package, among other items. The tentative agreement included no concessions or takeaways.
We have made every effort to reach a fair agreement, including making six offers to the union throughout negotiations, all which have included wage and benefits increases for every employee. It appears the union created unrealistic expectations for our employees.
The prolonged work stoppage has left us no choice but to hire permanent replacement employees in positions vacated by striking workers.
These are great jobs and posting for permanent positions helps us find qualified people to fill them.
While certainly not the result we had hoped for, we must take the necessary steps to ensure business continuity. We have an obligation to our customers and consumers to continue to provide the cereals that they know and love.
Update:We have heard from many of our employees that they are under the impression that Kellogg and the union are scheduled to bargain next week. This is not true – there is no further bargaining scheduled and we have no plans to meet. Given that the strike will continue, our focus must continue to be on executing the next phase of our contingency plan.
Members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) on strike against Kellogg’s in Battle Creek, Mich., Lancaster, Pa., Omaha, Neb. and Memphis, Tenn. have overwhelmingly voted to reject the tentative agreement. The strike, which began on October 5, 2021, continues.
Reflecting on the vote, BCTGM International President Anthony Shelton stated, “The members have spoken. The strike continues. The International Union will continue to provide full support to our striking Kellogg’s members.
“The BCTGM is grateful for the outpouring of fraternal support we received from across the labor movement for our striking members at Kellogg’s. Solidarity is critical to this fight.”