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Kellogg’s Workers Strike Across the U.S., Shutting Down Production

Breakfast will have to wait.

Credit: Franki Chamaki on Unsplash

1,400 Kellogg workers across the United States have gone on strike to protest recent changes to Kellogg pay policies. In the midst of an understaffing and management crisis, Kellogg hopes to end the policy it negotiated five years prior with the Union, in which pay raises were judged according to the local costs of living. Additionally, Kellogg plans to drastically cut the benefits, pension, and retirement, and health care of all workers.

Following the expiration of their Union contract, Kellogg planned to expand the two-tier pay system, in which workers’ compensation is stratified into two groups. Prior to October 5, according to Dan Osborn, a mechanic at a Kellogg’s factory and the president of the local union foundation, about 30% of workers were employed under the bottom tier of the system. Here, they could expect to earn approximately $11 per hour. These workers also have reduced vacation time and pay as well as higher insurance premiums.

Kellogg’s proposed expansion of the two-tier pay system intends to increase the bottom tier to include all workers. For some workers, many of whom have been working at Kellogg for over a decade, this means a pay decrease of as much as $13 per hour.

Kellogg has been chronically understaffed since 2019, forcing employees to work forced overtime hours to cover for the mass shortage and other workers’ time off. This results in 12-16 hours workdays, seven days a week. One worker explained that his only days off are earned vacation days, a rarity that would become even less common with Kellogg’s proposed changes.

Dan Osborn, in speaking to Forbes about the conditions of the Kellogg work environment, explained that “I work a 7:00 to 3:00 shift. So they come up to me at 2:59 and tell me I got to work till 7:00 P.M. Then come up to me at 6:59 and tell me I got to be back in at 3:00 A.M. to cover vacancies.”

Since the Union-Kellogg contract expiration of October 5, Kellogg workers have been striking with the support of Local 50G Union. The four BCTGM Local Unions of Battle Creek MI, Lancaster PA, Memphis TN, and Omaha NE are working to negotiate an updated contract that protects the conditions of workers with a living wage and proper benefits. They provide updates for the contract negotiation proceedings here.

Credit: Flickr

The Kellogg brand lauds itself as the cheapest cereal in the United States. Offering products including Rice Krispies, Frosted Flakes, Special K, Cheez-its, Pringles, Eggo, RXBAR, MorningStar Farms, and many more, Kellogg has become a staple in grocery stores and kitchens across the United States.

The Kellogg CEO enjoyed a 20% pay increase between the years 2020 and 2021 and many top executives also joined in augmented compensation. Kellogg reported their sales for 2020 to be approximately $13.8 billion. But while Kellogg celebrates, it is at the expense of their workers.

Interested in reading more about the latest in industry and technology? Click here to read about the real reason behind Facebook’s crash on October 4, 2021.

Written By

Makenna Dykstra (she/her) is currently pursuing her M.A. in English Literature at Tulane University in New Orleans. She writes journalism and poetry.

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