May 17, 2022

All of the Kellogg Company’s cereal plants in the United States ceased operations Tuesday as approximately 1,400 employees went on strike, but it was unclear how much supply of Frosted Flakes or any of its other popular brands would be interrupted.

Battle Creek, Michigan; Memphis, Tennessee; Omaha, Nebraska; Lancaster, Pennsylvania are among the plants affected by the strike.

For more than a year, the union and the Battle Creek-based company have been at odds at the bargaining table, according to Daniel Osborn, President of the local union in Omaha. The dispute centers on various salary and benefit problems, including the loss of health insurance premiums, reduced holiday and vacation compensation, and retirement benefit cuts.

“The company 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,” said Anthony Shelton, President of International Union of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers.

Osborn is not pleased with the threat to relocate work to Mexico.

“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,” Osborn said.

The business maintains that its offer is reasonable and would raise salaries and benefits for its employees, who earned an average of $120,000 per year last year, according to the company.

“We are disappointed by the union’s decision to strike. Kellogg provides compensation and benefits for our U.S. ready to eat cereal employees that are among the industry’s best,” Kellogg spokesperson Kris Bahner said in a statement.

Osborn stated that he anticipates the corporation will attempt to bring in non-union personnel at some point this week in order to resume operations and preserve the supply of its products.

The business stated that it is “implementing contingency plans” to minimize consumer supply delays.

When all of the plants were operational throughout the pandemic, Osborn noted that for much of that time, staff worked 12-hour shifts seven days a week to maintain output while so many people were out sick with COVID-19.

“The level we were working at is unsustainable,” Osborn explained.