Work at all of Kellogg Co.’s U.S. grain plants came to a halt on Tuesday as 1,400 workers went on strike, but it was not immediately clear how well the supply to Frosted Flakes or any of the others was. the company’s famous brands would be disrupted. Sales of breakfast cereals increased, especially those of older brands which .
The strike includes the Kellogg factories in Battle Creek, Michigan; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Memphis, Tennessee; and Omaha, Nebraska.
The union and the Battle Creek-based company have been at an impasse at the bargaining table for more than a year, said Daniel Osborn, president of the local Omaha union. The dispute centers on an assortment of compensation and benefits issues such as lost health care premiums, paid vacation and vacation pay, and reduced pension benefits.
“The company continues to threaten to send additional jobs to Mexico if workers do not accept outrageous proposals that remove protections workers have enjoyed for decades,” said Anthony Shelton, president of the International Bakery Union. , confectionery, tobacco and grain millers.
The reported threat to move work to Mexico does not suit Osborn.
“A lot of Americans probably don’t have too much of a problem with Nike hats or Under Armor hats made elsewhere or even our vehicles, but when they start making our food where it’s outside of the control of the FDA and OSHA , I have a huge problem with that, ”Osborn said.
The company insists its offer is fair and would increase the salaries and benefits of its employees who it says earned an average of $ 120,000 a year last year.
“We are disappointed with the union’s decision to strike. Kellogg provides compensation and benefits to our US employees with ready-to-eat cereal that is among the best in the industry,” said Kellogg spokesperson Kris. Bahner, in a statement.
Osborn said he expects the company to try to bring non-union workers into factories at some point this week to try to resume operations and maintain the supply of its products.
The company acknowledged that it was “implementing contingency plans” to limit supply disruptions for consumers.
The factories all continued to operate throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but Osborn said that for much of that time, workers were working 12-hour shifts, seven days a week to maintain production while so many people were absent because of the virus.
“The level we were working at is unbearable,” Osborn said.
Kellogg workers aren’t the first food workers to strike during the pandemic.
Earlier this summer, more than 600 workers from ain Topeka, Kansas, quit his job to protest working conditions during the pandemic, including what they called forced overtime. This strike ended in July when workers ratified a new contract.
Workers ofin five states went on strike in August to protest against plans by Nabisco’s parent company, Mondelez International, to move some of the work to Mexico, among others, according to the same bakery union that represents Kellogg workers. The strike ended last month when workers ratified a new contract.