After a prolonged strike that lasted 2 ½ months, workers at four Kellogg cereal plants ratified a new contract just a few days before Christmas and voted to return to work.
The contract, negotiated through the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union, will sharply limit the “unfair two-tier wage system” that had only long-term workers (called “legacy workers”) eligible for higher pay and benefits. The new contract will make second-tier workers “legacy workers” after four years on the job. This two-tier system was a key point in the union’s demands and represented a shining case of solidarity – older workers standing up for their younger fellow workers.
The new contract also provides for a starting salary increase of $4.19 an hour to $24.11 and cost of living increases. Dropped was the company’s threat to permanently replace the 1,400 strikers. They will all return to their jobs. The threat had prompted President Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders to public condemn the move.
Hailing it as ”a big win, not only for us, but for the American labor movement” the union’s international president Anthony Shelton declared, “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.”