After 11 weeks, Kellogg’s workers strike is finally over. Employees walked away from the picket lines bringing home a new five-year contract.
Workers Strike Ends After 11 Weeks
11 weeks after staging a walkout, the Kellogg’s workers strike ended. Unionized company workers in four states approved a new five-year collective bargaining agreement.
The union workers voted to approve a tentative agreement last week. The provisions include across-the-board wage increases and cost-of-living adjustments. It also includes expanded health care and retirement benefits.
The new agreement also provides newer employees to reach the coveted senior levels. These levels allow senior workers to enjoy legacy wages and benefits, which are much higher. This addresses the gap which newer workers say keeps the workforce divided.
Multiple Trips To The Bargaining Table
Over the course of the workers strike, company representatives and union leaders met multiple times to negotiate terms.
Initially, Kellogg’s drew criticism from workers groups and even President Joe Biden himself. The company threatened to find permanent replacements for the 1,4000 striking cereal workers in Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.
Now, as workers ratified the new agreement, everybody will return to work this Monday.
One provision seemed to stand out. The new contract retains the two-tiered employee system. However, both sides agreed to create pathways for new workers to reach the other tier. The accelerated pathway can help erase the divide that newer workers resent.
Union, Management Happy With CBA
Anthony Shelton, president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union, celebrated the worker's strike’s end.
Shelton pointed out that at no time did the union concede on any point. He also praised workers who “courageously stood their ground and sacrificed so much in order to achieve a fair contract.”
Meanwhile, Kellogg’s chief executive, Steve Cahillane, also praised the deal made with the union. The seventh attempt at getting a deal done will now bring employees back to their stations.
“We look forward to [employees’] return and continuing to produce our beloved cereal brands for our customers and consumers,” he said in a statement.
Other Stakeholders Also Praised The Deal
In addition, many local officials praised the agreement. Representative Jim Haadsma (D) is labor relations and workers’ compensation lawyer. He is also from Battle Creek, one of Kellogg’s locations.
He called the CBA a significant victory for the labor movement. “This shows the continued evolving muscularity of organized labor,” Haadsma said. “[Kellogg’s workers] held on and got a little bit more than what they were afforded in the contract two or three weeks ago.”
Also, Haadsma hopes that Kellogg’s workers' strike inspires other unions. Getting a deal without concessions from a multinational corporation is an accomplishment.
“It will be interesting to see what it does in terms of provoking more employees to think about the benefits,” he said. The BCTWG is a driving force behind some of the large strikes this year. In fact, it helped organize the worker's strike at a Kansas Frito-Lay plant as well as a walkout at Nabisco earlier.
Watch the Reuters news video reporting that the Kellogg's strike ends as workers approve new labor agreement:
What do you think of the successful end to Kellogg’s cereal workers strike? Do you also think other workers will get an idea to unionize because of this?
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