Unionized Kellogg’s food production workers are on strike at four plants over contract disputes
The summer of food industry strikes and walkouts has stretched into the fall, with about 1,400 unionized Kellogg’s workers joining picket lines last week to protest new contract negotiations, The Guardian reports. The striking workers, members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), are following BCTGM-represented workers at Frito-Lay and Nabisco, who recently won concessions for new union contracts after weeks-long protests over potential changes to overtime rules and shift length. Kellogg’s employees described working 12-plus-hour shifts, seven days a week during a pandemic, which helped the company net a reported $1.25 billion in profit last year, only to see their employer push for changes to employees’ health care, vacation, and holiday pay and job protections. Not to mention threatening to outsource workers’ jobs to Mexico if the changes weren’t accepted. Patricia Campos-Medina, the executive director of the Worker Institute at Cornell University, told The Associated Press that the workers, unionized or not, feel that the pandemic has given them an unusual advantage, by laying bare to the public the hazardous and important nature of their work and precipitating a labor shortage that’s made it difficult to find replacement workers quickly. “Workers in general are demanding that companies invest more in the workforce and not just use the profits for the shareholders,” Campos-Medina said.