On Tuesday, December 7th, 1,400 workers at Kellogg’s cereal plants in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, and Tennessee rejected a tentative agreement on a new five-year contract and voted to continue their strike which started on October 5th. The workers, who are organized in the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), have rejected a tentative agreement that was agreed to by the company and union leadership. The workers want to hold out until a contract that abolishes a “two-tier” wage structure within the union is put before them.
They understand that “two-tier” contracts are used to divide workers and are digging in their heels to get rid of this practice in their contract. Kellogg’s workers have been quoted in various news outlets saying that they believe Kellogg’s will try to use “two-tier” structures to divide workers and reduce wages and benefits in the long run.
In response to the strike, Kellogg’s has announced their intention to hire permanent replacement workers—known as “scabs”—in place of the striking workers. In response to this, the strikers have received various shows of solidarity and support online. For example, thousands of people organized through an online Reddit forum purposely sent spam job applications to Kellogg’s online job portal advertising open positions to replace striking workers, crashing Kellogg’s online system.
It remains to be seen if the Kellogg’s workers will be successful in staving off this “two-tier” contract, but the fight and resolve they are showing amidst the pandemic and record inflation is commendable. Workers across the country and world will need to organize and show similar resolve as we work to fight back against the bosses and build a better future.