OMAHA, Neb. — A milestone has been reached in the Kellogg worker strike. Workers in Omaha report that their picket line has held firm a week after they walked out.
“One day longer, one day stronger,” said Mark Scott, a Kellogg’s employee of over five years. “So that’s what we’re going to do, no matter what it takes.”
Last week, the Kellogg’s Company was joined by the union Bakery?Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain MillersBCTGM) International Union failed to come to an agreement, leading to worker strikes all across the country, including here in Omaha.
Since then, workers on strike have surrounded Kellogg’s plant, operating every gate, 24 hours a day.
They said that they would not leave the union until they reached a fair deal with the company.
Overtime is another issue. Many workers report working 80 hours per week.
“Some people do sign up for Sundays for double time, but mostly it’s mandatory, forced overtime,” said Scott.
This is not only a burden for workers, but also for their families. Julie Mumford claims that standing on the picket lines next to her husband is the best time she has spent with him in many years.
“It’s really hard on me to see how stressful it is for him where he has no time off, day after day,” Mumford said.
Workers claim that new employees are faced with the same problem, but with less pay and fewer benefits.
Scott explained that Scott was right when he said, “When you have someone next to your making less money and you’re doing exactly the same job, that’s a bad position.”
Kellogg’s denies these claims, saying the overtime is voluntary.
According to the company, “In 2020, Kellogg cereal manufacturers employees worked an average 52-56 hours per week. However, 90% employees volunteered for the extra work.” a press release Tuesday
They also claim that they offer the highest pay and benefits in their industry, and that they would like to increase them with their proposal.
“Less senior employees have health insurance plans that salaried Kellogg employees have. However, they pay lower employee contributions than salaried employees. This was a concept that was reached with the union in 2015. The current proposal offers significant wage increases, retirement benefits, and industry-leading benefits.
Kellogg’s also stated in the update that the company is working with outside help.
“Kellogg is ready, willing, and able to continue negotiations at any time. In the meantime we have a responsibility to our business, customers and consumers to run our plants despite the strike.”
Outside workers are being bused in, as union members rely on what they’ve saved over the past year.
“We don’t have insurance, and you know, so that’s pretty scary and financially scary,” Scott said. “A lot of us saved up, but it’s hard.”
They insist that they will remain vital for the next generation of workers.
“Kellogg’s, do the right thing,” Mumford said. The people are what make you great. Take care of them.”
The workers asked the public not to buy Kellogg’s product at this time, and if they do buy the product, make sure the union logo is on the box.
On Wednesday at 4:30 pm, a support event for union strikers is being held outside of the plant
This story was first reported on by Jessika Eidson of KMTV.