Kellogg workers vote to reject contract offer and continue strike
Battle Creek, Michigan – Kellogg workers have voted to reject their recent contract offer in one of the most high-profile labor fights in the country.
Around 1,400 Kellogg Co. workers at plants in Battle Creek, Michigan; Omaha, Nebraska; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee, walked out over unfair labor conditions in October.
They had had enough of 16-hour workdays, short turnaround times between shifts, forced overtime, and the company's two-tier system of compensation and benefits.
Employees have also expressed frustration after seeing jobs transferred to Mexico.
Meanwhile, as workers struggle to make ends meet under increasingly exploitative conditions, the cereal company's CEO Steve Cahillane brought home $11.6 million in 2020.
Nine weeks after their walkout, workers voted Sunday on a new five-year contract offer from the company, which included 3% wage increases in the first year and cost of living adjustments in the following years.
But many felt the new contract didn't do enough to address the tier system, which designates some workers as "transitional" and denies them equal health benefits and pension plans.
"Legacy" workers, who are fighting for their current and future colleagues, have portrayed their labor struggle as a battle for the future of the company.
The votes cast showed that workers are not okay with leaving some of their own behind and they are willing to keep fighting to end the tier system.
"We've been asked about how long we're willing to fight," fourth-generation Kellogg worker Trevor Bidelman said in a More Perfect Union video. "At the end of the day, it's gonna be one day longer than they are."
Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire