A strike of nearly three months against Kellogg Co.’s breakfast cereal plants will end with the union’s ratification of a new contract.
The deal was reached last week and approved by a vote of members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union on Dec. 19-20. The five-year pact requires no concessions or takeaways from workers, the union claims on its website.
The pact is the second attempt at an agreement between Kellogg and the union. The first was rejected by the rank-and-file in a vote in early December.
A major sticking point in the negotiations was the maintenance of a two-tiered system whereby newer employees got lower pay and benefits than older, “legacy” ones. The agreement addresses that by providing that upon ratification, all employees with four or more years of service will receive “legacy status”; thereafter, 3% of each plant’s headcount will “graduate” to the higher status.
Other terms of the contract include: a starting wage of $24.11 an hour; a $1.10-an-hour raise for legacy employees; a continued pension plan for legacy employees; and continuation of the current “moratorium” on plant closings for the life of the contract.
"We are pleased that we have reached an agreement that brings our cereal employees back to work," CEO Steve Cahillane said in a statement. "We look forward to their return and continuing to produce our beloved cereal brands for our customers and consumers."
“Our entire union commends and thanks Kellogg’s members,” union president Anthony Shelton said in a statement. “From picket line to picket line, Kellogg’s union members stood strong and undeterred in this fight, inspiring generations of workers across the globe, who were energized by their tremendous show of bravery as they stood up to fight and never once backed down.”
The strike affected all four Kellogg ready-to-eat breakfast cereal plants, in Battle Creek, Mich.; Lancaster, Pa.; Omaha. Neb.; and Memphis, Tenn. Kellogg had threatened to use replacement workers, a position that drew harsh criticism from President Biden and others.