Kellogg working to 'mitigate supply disruptions' after strike hits US cereal plants
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Kellogg – whose U.S. cereal plants came to a halt Tuesday after droves of employees went on strike over stalled contract negations – said it's working to "mitigate supply disruptions."
Kellogg spokesperson Kris Bahner confirmed to FOX Business Wednesday that the multinational food manufacturing company is "implementing contingency plans to mitigate supply disruptions, including using salaried employees and third-party resources to produce food."
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Bahner said between 1,400 and 1,500 hourly employees employed at plants in Omaha, Nebraska; Battle Creek, Michigan; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee, went on strike, ultimately threatening production of its iconic breakfast products.
The union and the Battle Creek–based company have been at an impasse at the bargaining table for more than a year, said Daniel Osborn, president of the local union in Omaha. The dispute involves an assortment of pay and benefit issues such as the holiday and vacation pay, loss of premium health care and reduced retirement benefits.
"Kellogg’s response to these loyal, hardworking employees has been to demand these workers give up quality health care, retirement benefits, and holiday and vacation pay," said Anthony Shelton, president of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM).
The BCTGM union covers 1,400 members in Battle Creek, Omaha, Lancaster and Memphis, where Rice Krispies, Raisin Bran, Froot Loops, Corn Flakes and Frosted Flakes are produced.
Shelton said the company "continues to threaten to send additional jobs to Mexico if workers do not accept outrageous proposals that take away protections that workers have had for decades."
The threat to move work to Mexico doesn’t sit well with Osborn.
"A lot of Americans probably don’t have too much issue with the Nike or Under Armor hats being made elsewhere or even our vehicles, but when they start manufacturing our food down where they are out of the FDA control and OSHA control, I have a huge problem with that," Osborn said.
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Meanwhile, Kellogg insists that its offer is fair and would increase wages and benefits for its employees that it said made an average of $120,000 a year last year.
The union even gained support from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which gained recognition after organizing the biggest unionization push at Amazon earlier this year in Bessemer, Alabama.
"Solidarity with our fellow union members who work at Kellogg's, striking for the fair contract they deserve!" RWDSU tweeted alongside a petition to support the BCTGM union.
It is still not immediately clear how much the supply of Frosted Flakes or any of the company’s other iconic brands would be disrupted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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