Striking Kellogg’s workers ratify tentative contract

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FILE – Union members and supporters gather during a rally outside Kellogg’s World Headquarters on Oct. 27, 2021 in Battle Creek, Mich. Kellogg’s employees have voted to ratify a tentative labor contract at the company’s four U.S. cereal plants. The contract covers approximately 1,400 workers represented by the union at plants in Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Kellogg said on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021 that the new contracts gives immediate, across the board wage increases and enhanced benefits for all. It also provides an accelerated, defined path to legacy wages and benefits for transitional employees. (Alyssa Keown/Battle Creek Enquirer via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Kellogg’s employees who have been on strike since early October have voted to ratify a tentative labor contract at the company’s four U.S. cereal plants.

The contract covers approximately 1,400 workers represented by the union at plants in Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

Kellogg said Tuesday that the new contract provides immediate, across-the-board wage increases and enhanced benefits for all. It also provides an accelerated, defined path to top-tier wages, a major sticking point for workers, and benefits for transitional employees.

“We are pleased that we have reached an agreement that brings our cereal employees back to work,” CEO Steve Cahillane said in a statement.

The workers have been on strike since Oct. 5. They will return to work on Monday, Kellogg said, after the holiday.

The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union said the contract is a win for workers.

“This agreement makes gains and does not include any concessions,” union President Anthony Shelton said in a prepared statement.

About 1,400 members of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union voted on the new offer over the weekend. The offer includes cost-of-living adjustments and a $1.10 per hour raise for all employees.

Earlier this month, an overwhelming majority of workers voted down a five-year offer that would have provided 3% raises and cost of living adjustments in the later years of the deal to most but not all of the workers. That offer also would have preserved employees’ current health benefits.

The workers have been on strike at plants in Battle Creek, Michigan; Omaha, Nebraska; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee. They make all of the company’s well-known brands of cereal, including Apple Jacks and Frosted Flakes.

Kellogg’s said most workers at its cereal plants earned an average of $120,000 last year, though union members have said they work more than 80 hours a week to earn that, and those wages are only available to longtime workers. Under the two-tiered pay system the company uses, newer workers are paid less and receive fewer benefits.

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