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'They know this just isn’t a fluke': Weeks into strike, Kellogg's workers stay persistent

Posted at 6:13 PM, Oct 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-25 19:13:23-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Almost three weeks into a strike, workers at the Kellogg's plant in Omaha say the reasons for their strike haven’t changed and until their demands are met, they’ll continue to stand in solidarity outside the facility.

The strikers were forced to stand out in a rainstorm all day Sunday and some chilly nights.

But they say they’re not going anywhere and, in fact, they say they’re getting even closer and still have high morale.

“They know this just isn’t a fluke. We’re not out here for the wrong reasons," said one striker.

Every day of the week — 24/7 — instead of doing their normal jobs of creating breakfast cereal like Lucky Charms, Froot Loops and other food products, they’re on the street gathering support, one honk at a time.

“They wanted the strike. They want us to give in, sell out these young people. We’re not doing it,” said John McDevitt, who works day-shift, corn relief at the plant.

McDevitt has worked at the plant for 16 years and describes his current job as the quarterback of the line.

He's protesting the two-tiered system Kellogg's has developed. That system includes good pay and benefits for legacy employees, but a large drop-off in compensation for new and incoming employees.

“People fought for what I have, so I feel like I have to give back a little bit. It really is the younger people we’re fighting for,” said McDevitt.

On the other side of the plant, packing machine operator Kenneth Merritt echoes his co-worker.

“To make sure that we set the tone for the people that are coming behind us; that they have the same benefits, the same wages, the same working conditions that we have, if not better,” said Merritt.

Still, taking a stand like this requires sacrifice. That includes standing outside for hours, but also no pay, which is hitting every employee a little differently.

“You have some that weren’t able to save money during this time so they have gone out and got jobs. You got to take care of your family, you’ve got to do what you have to do,” said Merritt.

“I saved money but I know a lot of people are hurting,” said McDevitt.

Aside from grabbing a temporary gig. People like McDevitt have at least one more way to support their families.

“Actually I’m dumping my Kellogg's stock,” said McDevitt.

The Kellogg’s union said late Monday afternoon, that the company has shown willingness to allow less experienced employees to make wages similar to what the legacy, more long-term employees make.

It's unclear when they'll get back to the negotiating table.

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