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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Kellogg’s workers win wide support for defying union sellout and strikebreaking threats

After 1,400 Kellogg’s workers on strike rejected the contract brought by the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), workers across the country in different industries have enthusiastically supported their courageous stand.

Striking worker in Memphis, Tennessee (Source: BCTGM)

Kellogg’s workers at four plants in Omaha, Nebraska; Battle Creek, Michigan; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee, have been on strike for two months against the multinational food-processing giant. In a vote earlier this week, they rejected a union-backed contract, which included raises well below the rate of inflation. In particular, workers want to abolish the two-tier system, which pays so-called transitional workers wages and benefits far below those of “legacy” workers.

After this powerful rebuke to both the BGTGM and the company, Kellogg’s announced it was moving ahead with its plans to hire strikebreakers to replace the workers, many of whom have worked decades producing profits for the Battle Creek-based multinational. In one expression of the popular hostility to this strikebreaking, users on Reddit in the US and internationally on Thursday flooded the company with fake applications to disrupt its efforts to hire scabs.

A Kellogg’s worker told the WSWS the union-backed deal “was a trojan horse. They don’t tell you the legacy transition was longer than the five-year contract.” In social media posts before the vote, another worker said, “We never really are told the full scope of what you are voting for until you accept then read the full language then realize you were duped again. How do you think we got ourselves into this mess in the first place? Don’t be rushed. Understand what you are accepting. You will have to live with it for the next few years.”

Andy, a Kellogg’s worker on strike, posted, “It’s shameful I have to even vote on this steaming pile of GARBAGE!” Ken, another worker, agreed, saying, “‘Shameful’ is one of my thoughts as well. Ken Hurley [head of Kellogg’s labor relations] ‘sidebars’ with the BCTGM and this is what we vote on?” Kimberly added of the union’s treachery, “Wonder whose palms got greased!”

Kellogg workers in Battle Creek, Michigan (Source: BCTGM)

Support from autoworkers and John Deere workers

In comments to the WSWS, workers around the country expressed their solidarity with the Kellogg’s workers. An autoworker from Detroit said, “A message to Kellogg workers on strike. Your struggle is our struggle. Workers everywhere are tired of corporate policies forcing workers to work longer for less and less. As a UAW tradesperson, I can first handedly tell you that our international bargaining committee directly manipulated the membership to jam through a pro-corporate contract that removed such vital protections such as overtime pay.

“Ridiculous as it may sound, we have been FORCED to work seven consecutive 12 hour days—while REMOVING OVERTIME PAY protection by letting the company spread the hours over two ‘pay periods’. A detail that was conveniently omitted from our ‘highlights’ package. Even though it’s against the law—nobody at the Labor Department or NLRB has any intention of standing up for workers either. They have flatly refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing whatsoever.

“We as workers are standing alone against these corporate giants that own our government. The only thing to stop this tyrannical rule over the working class is for workers themselves to organize from the shop floor upward.”

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