Kellogg's Plant Workers Go On Strike

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Damir Mujezinovic

Roughly 1,400 Kellogg's workers went on strike Tuesday at plants in Battle Creek, Michigan, Omaha, Nebraska, Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Memphis, Tennessee.

Union workers and the cereal makers have been negotiating pay and benefits (healthcare, holiday and vacation pay, retirement benefits) for more than a year.

It remains unclear how much the supply of Kellogg's signature breakfast products will be disrupted by the strike, but the company has refused to budge, threatening to ship well-paying jobs abroad if workers continue striking.

Read more below.

Intimidation, Blackmail

President of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union told The Associated Press that Kellogg's is essentially blackmailing its workers and trying to intimidate them.

He said that Kellogg's "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."

To deal with the strikes, the company will try to implement various contingency plans, but union workers will not back down that easily, it seems.

Threats

Daniel Osborn, president of the local union in Omaha said that most Americans would have a problem with Kellogg's moving production abroad.

"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."

Kellogg's spokesperson Kris Bahner claimed in a statement that the company "provides compensation and benefits for our U.S. ready to eat cereal employees that are among the industry’s best."

Kellogg's Shares Slip

Shutterstock | 2980894

The strikes have had an effect on Kellogg's shares.

As reported by Bloomberg, Kellogg's shares fell 0.8 percent to $64.02 at the close of trading on Tuesday.

"The concern here is about the potential for supply chain issues to be amplified if the company is unable to maintain production levels," Bloomberg intelligence analyst Jennifer Bartashus explained.

"Depending on how long a strike lasts, it will affect how much completed inventory will need to be used to meet their current obligations, and then how long it will take to rebuild that inventory once the strike is resolved," Bartashus added.

COVID-19 Strikes

Kellogg’s employees aren’t the first food workers to strike amid the coronavirus pandemic.

This summer, Frito-Lay workers in Topeka, Kansas went on strike claiming they were for forced to work overtime in dire conditions and for low pay.

As CNN reported, the workers and the company reached an agreement in the end.

The new contract provided workers with a guaranteed day off each work week, and eliminated what workers describe as "suicide shifts" -- shifts "where workers put in eight-hour days plus four hours of overtime before returning for their next shift."

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