BATTLE CREEK, MICH. – Kellogg Co. said it has reached a tentative agreement with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) and the four local unions on strike since Oct. 5 at the company’s cereal plants in Battle Creek; Lancaster, Pa.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Omaha, Neb. A vote on the new contract proposal is expected by Dec. 20.
Kellogg made a similar announcement on Dec. 2 only to have the 1,400 striking workers vote to reject that agreement on Dec. 7. Kellogg said at that time it would move forward with contingency plans, including the hiring of permanent replacement workers.
The hiring of permanent replacement workers drew a response from President Joe Biden, who in a statement said collective bargaining should be free from threats and intimidation from employers.
“That’s why I am deeply troubled by reports of Kellogg’s plans to permanently replace striking workers from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International during their ongoing collective bargaining negotiations,” he said. “Permanently replacing striking workers is an existential attack on the union and its members’ jobs and livelihoods. I have long opposed permanent striker replacements and I strongly support legislation that would ban that practice.”
The new proposal includes wage increases and cost of living adjustments starting the first year of the contract; a defined path for employees to move from “transitional” to “legacy;” expanded health care benefits; increased pension benefits; and no concessions from the union, according to Kellogg.
“We value all of our employees,” said Steve Cahillane, chief executive officer of Kellogg. “They have enabled Kellogg to provide food to Americans for more than 115 years. We are hopeful our employees will vote to ratify this contract and return to work.”