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Kellogg's union rejects tentative contract agreement; strike continues

Chris Hood President Kellogg Co.
Posted at 9:42 AM, Dec 07, 2021

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Kellogg workers strike is not ending anytime soon.

Workers at the four plants, including the one in Omaha, overwhelmingly rejected an offer from the company that would have brought them back to work.

Employees in Omaha said the deal wasn't good enough.

“Still too many questions that aren’t answered," said Bill Ross, a 14-year Kellogg plant worker. "It’s a little closer but it’s still, we’ve got a ways to go yet."

Ross, along with the rest of the thousands of Kellogg's workers, are striking in protest of Kellogg's two-tier system, in which veteran workers are paid well, but new employees are paid less and face significant barriers to move up.

“It’s why this whole fight started and that’s what we want, we want everybody to be equally paid and equal benefits,” said Becki Desantiago, another Kellogg employee.

The workers are united in getting rid of, or at least, crippling that system, that they believe leaves future generations of Kellogg workers behind, as the company makes millions.

“There’s a lot of emotions involved; ultimately I think people still want to continue the fight against corporate greed and they feel like this contract wasn’t good enough,” said Dan Osborn, president of BCTGM Local 50G, the local labor union.

Osborn had major concerns with the last offer, saying it would take nearly a decade to move up in the company.

“This contract does not provide enough security for our future and our future employees,” Osborn said.

On Tuesday, President of the Kellogg Company in North America Chris Hood said the offer came after 19 negotiating sessions with the union, and Kellogg's current plan is to move forward with business operations.

"The prolonged work stoppage has left us no choice but to continue executing the next phase of our contingency plan including hiring replacement employees in positions vacated by striking workers,” said Hood.

But workers raise several points as to why that may be unlikely, while also questioning the legality of the company's decision. The workers have pointed out the incredibly low unemployment figures and national worker shortage.

“I don’t know if they can find enough to run what we can run,” said Desantiago.

With fire pits running around the clock at various stations around the perimeter of the plant, workers remain confident.

“A lot of battles have been fought and won in the dead of winter, we don’t think this is going to be any different,” said Osborn.

UPDATE: 3:30 PM 12/7/2021

After announcing on Tuesday morning that the latest contract proposal from the Kellogg Company was voted down by striking members of the BCTGM RTEC labor union, the union leaders said they were willing to continue with negotiations.

In a statement from the union: "The Negotiations Committee is willing to continue bargaining in good faith with the Company, despite their update to their site. We are open to modifying some of our proposals as long as the Company is willing to do the same. Bargaining a sustainable agreement that benefits both Company and Union is our sole desire and we will stand firm until our goals are met."

The update that the BCTGM union referred to is Kellogg's announcement that it would be hiring replacement workers to move operations forward.

"The prolonged work stoppage has left us no choice but to continue executing the next phase of our contingency plan including hiring replacement employees in positions vacated by striking workers," said the statement, quoting Kellogg North America President Chris Hood.

RELATED: Kellogg's workers await voting results on tentative agreement

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Kellogg's strike continues in Omaha

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