New Brunswick Tribune

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Striking Kellogg’s employees in the U.S will get a 3% raise under a new contract

Key takeaways:

  • Kellogg’s has reached a deal with its 1,400 cereal mill workers that, if approved, will result in 3% raises.
  • The draught deal also tackles the two-tiered wage system that had been a source of contention for the union.

Kellogg’s has negotiated a tentative agreement with its 1,400 cereal mill workers that, if accepted, will result in 3% raises and the end of a nearly two-month strike.

The firm stated Thursday that the five-year agreement with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union includes cost-of-living adjustments in the second through fifth years of the contract and maintains the workers’ present health coverage.

Workers at Kellogg’s, who have been on strike since October 5, will vote on the new contract on Sunday. According to the business, the results are supposed to be released early next week.

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The new agreement covers employees at Kellogg’s four cereal plants in the United States, located in Battle Creek, Michigan, Omaha, Nebraska, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Memphis, Tennessee. They manufacture all of its well-known cereal brands, such Frosted Flakes and Rice Krispies.

The draught deal also tackles the two-tiered wage system that had been a source of contention for the union. The scheme pays newer workers less and provides fewer benefits, and it affects up to 30% of the staff at the facilities. 

According to the Battle Creek-based corporation, the deal will allow all workers with at least 4 years of experience to immediately move up to the higher legacy pay level, with some additional workers moving up in the contract’s later years.

In a statement, Union President Anthony Shelton praised all bargaining committee members but added that employees “will have the final word on the contract.”

Outside the Kellogg’s plant in Omaha, Eric Dwornicki said it’s heartening to see a tentative agreement made, but the agreement’s details will determine whether it passes muster.

“We want to go back to work, but we don’t want to be exploited,” said Dwornicki, 35, who has worked at the plant for nearly ten years.

After nine weeks on strike, Dan Luers, whose father worked for 22 years, said the accord is a sign of progress. Luers, 32, has been employed at the Omaha cereal facility for ten years.

Striking Kellogg's Workers to Get 3% Raises in New Contract

On the picket line in Omaha, Jerry Ellerman celebrated the 17th anniversary of his start at the factory as well as his 50th birthday, but he stressed the strike would not stop until a fair settlement was reached.

“If it’s not fair, I’m willing to stay out here,” Ellerman remarked.

During the walkout, the firm took a tough stance with the workers.

Kellogg’s moved to court in Omaha last month to obtain an order establishing guidelines for employees’ conduct on the picket line. The business claimed striking workers blocked access to its cereal facility and intimidated replacement workers. Union executives denied any wrongdoing.

During the strike, the firm relied on salaried employees and outside labor to function. It threatened last week to begin hiring permanent replacements for certain striking workers.

However, the union insisted on better pay after employees worked excessive hours – more than 80 hours per week – over the past 18 months to meet demand during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Workers also claimed that the country’s persistent chronic workforce shortages provided them an advantage in negotiations.

Before returning to work last month, more than 10,000 Deere workers received 10% raises and increased benefits in another recent walkout.

Source: CTV News

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