Kellogg's Workers End Their Nearly 3 Month Strike and Agree to a New Contract: 'We stood up for what we believed was right'
- 1,400 Kellogg's workers are ending their 77-day long strike after voting on a new contract.
- The agreement contains cost of living raises for all employees, with lower-tier employees seeing a nearly $5 bump.
- It's the conclusion of another strike that exemplified the newly resurgent labor movement.
After 77 days on the picket line, Kellogg's workers are ending their strike.
The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) announced on Tuesday that workers across four plants currently on strike have voted to accept a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Since October 5, 1,400 workers have been on strike, calling for a contract that would pare down what they say is an unfair two-tier wage system, where only longer-term legacy workers have access to higher pay and benefits.
The new CBA will "graduate" those lower-tier employees — called "transitional" employees — with four years of experience into the legacy program. According to Dan Osborn, president of the local union branch in Omaha, Nebraska, 14 workers will graduate to that higher rate of pay upon today's ratification, in addition to 3% of the headcount at each plant.
Cost of living increases will also kick in for all employees. Transitional employees will now get paid $24.11 an hour, up from $19.92.
The ratification comes after workers voted down a prior tentative agreement, and Kellogg's saying that they had "no choice" but to permanently replace the 1,400 workers out on strike. President Joe Biden stepped in to condemn the move to permanently replace workers, as did Sen. Bernie Sanders. Nebraska's Republican governor Pete Ricketts also called on the company to resume negotiations.
"We are pleased that we have reached an agreement that brings our cereal employees back to work," Kellogg spokesperson Kris Bahner said in a statement to Insider. "We look forward to their return and continuing to produce our beloved cereal brands for our customers and consumers."
Workers who were out on the picket line will be able to return to work. Osborn said that that means returning strikers will work side by side with anyone who was brought in as a permanent replacement.
"Our entire Union commends and thanks Kellogg's members," BCTGM international president Anthony Shelton said in a statement. "From picket line to picket line, Kellogg's union members stood strong and undeterred in this fight, inspiring generations of workers across the globe, who were energized by their tremendous show of bravery as they stood up to fight and never once backed down."
Kellogg's was one of the remaining lingering strikes from #Striketober, when over 100,000 workers across the country voted to authorize strikes — and thousands ended up taking to the picket line.
"Today this was a big win, not only for us, but for the American labor movement," Osborn said. "What we did was, we stood up for what we believed was right. We stood the line and we made the sacrifice to fight the giant that is Kelloggs. We're better for it."