August 8, 2022

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Kellogg said on Thursday that it had reached a second tentative agreement with a union...

Kellogg said on Thursday that it had reached a second tentative agreement with a union representing about 1,400 workers at four U.S. cereal plants who have been on strike since early October.
The tentative accord, which would cover five years, was announced about a week and a half after workers voted down an earlier agreement, prompting the company to announce that it would move ahead with hiring permanent replacements for the workers on strike.
Last week, President Biden weighed in on the standoff, saying in a statement that he was “deeply troubled” by the plan for permanent replacement workers, which he called “an existential attack on the union and its members’ jobs and livelihoods.”
The strike has partly revolved around the company’s two-tier compensation system, in which workers hired after 2015 typically receive lower wages and benefits than longer-tenured workers. The company has said that its veteran workers make more than $35 an hour on average, while the newer workers make almost $22 an hour on average.

Veteran workers have expressed concern that adding lower-paid workers will ultimately drag down their wages and benefits as well.
Under the agreement that was voted down last week, the company would have immediately converted all employees with four or more years at Kellogg to veteran status, then converted an amount equivalent to 3 percent of a plant’s head count in each year of the five-year contract.
The rejected agreement would have also given veteran workers a 3 percent wage increase in the first year of the contract and cost-of-living adjustments over the course of the contract. It offered newer hires a progression from the low $20s per hour to just over $28 after their sixth year.
A company spokeswoman said by email on Thursday that the new tentative agreement did not alter the process for converting newer hires to veteran status but that it “addresses the union’s request” for cost-of-living adjustments for all employees in each year of the contract.
The spokeswoman did not say whether Kellogg had hired permanent replacement workers.
“We value all of our employees. They have enabled Kellogg to provide food to Americans for more than 115 years,” Steve Cahillane, the chief executive, said in a statement. “We are hopeful our employees will vote to ratify this contract and return to work.”

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The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, which represents the workers, declined to comment on the details of the agreement but said that the union would present the proposal to members over the weekend and that votes would be counted by Tuesday.
Earlier this week, Bernie Sanders, the independent U.S. senator from Vermont, announced plans to hold a rally Friday on behalf of Kellogg workers in Battle Creek, Mich., the location of the company’s headquarters and one of the striking cereal plants. A spokesman for Mr. Sanders said the trip was still on.


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