BATTLE CREEK, MI — On Wednesday, Kellogg Company publicly addressed the terms of its master labor contract negotiations with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union for four of its Ready to Eat Cereal (RTEC) plants.
"We value all of our employees and recognize their efforts, especially during this global pandemic," said Kris Bahner, Kellogg Company spokesperson. "Being away from work puts our people and their families in a difficult position and can create financial hardships. We are deeply concerned that the Union at our four U.S. cereal plants has decided to strike and what that means for our employees, and especially concerned that the Union struck without allowing members to vote on our Oct. 1 offer."
Kellogg's number one priority is to get back to the negotiations table and reach a contract, so employees can get back to their jobs and their lives. "Our proposals have been grossly misrepresented by the Union in statements to their membership and to media, and we want our employees to have all the information they need to make informed decisions for themselves and their families," Bahner said.
Myth: Kellogg is asking employees to give up health care, retirement benefits, and holiday and vacation pay.
Fact: Most employees working under this contract have industry-leading pay and benefits, and all have above-market wages and retirement. The average 2020 earnings for the majority of our hourly RTEC employees was $120,000 and more than one-third earned between $120,000 and $200,000. Most also have unparalleled, no-cost comprehensive health insurance.
Less senior employees have the same health insurance plan that salaried Kellogg employees have, except they pay much lower employee contributions than salaried employees, a construct that was agreed upon with the union in 2015. The current proposal not only maintains industry-leading pay and benefits, but offers significant increases in wages, benefits and retirement.
Myth: The Union claims they are forced to work seven days a week with significant amounts of overtime.
Fact: In 2020, Kellogg cereal manufacturing employees worked an average of 52 - 56 hours/week, however 90% of the time, employees volunteered for the extra hours. Regardless, unplanned overtime is disruptive and is a problem Kellogg is eager to solve. The Company proposed adding a fourth crew to enable more time off. Unfortunately, the union has rejected any proposals that might change current work schedules.
Myth: The Union alleges that Kellogg has threatened to move jobs to Mexico if they don't agree to our proposals.
Fact: This is completely false. Kellogg has not proposed moving any cereal volume or jobs outside of the U.S. as part of these negotiations.
"Kellogg is ready, willing and able to continue negotiations at any time," Bahner said. "In the meantime, we have a responsibility to our business, customers and consumers to run our plants, despite the strike. We are continuing operations with other resources and hope that we can reach an agreement soon."
For more information and regular updates, please visit Kellogg's negotiations website at kelloggsnegotiations.com. For video message statements, please visit the links below.