BATTLE CREEK, Michigan: Some 1,400 workers at Kellogg Company cereal plants, located in Omaha, Nebraska; Battle Creek, Michigan; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee, have gone out on strike over pay and benefits.
The dispute covers issues, such as the loss premium health care, holiday and vacation pay and reduced retirement benefits.
Daniel Osborn, president of the local union in Omaha, said the union and the Battle Creek-based company have been negotiating for more than a year.
"The company continues to threaten to send additional jobs to Mexico if workers do not accept outrageous proposals that take away protections they have had for decades," said Anthony Shelton, president of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union.
Kellogg claims its offer is fair and would increase wages and benefits, stressing its employees made an average of $120,000 per annum last year.
In a statement, company spokesperson Kris Bahner said, "We are disappointed by the union's decision to strike. Kellogg provides compensation and benefits that are among the industry's best."
Kellogg will attempt to bring non-union workers into its plants this week to try to resume operations, Osborn added, after the company admitted it is "implementing contingency plans" to limit supply disruptions.
Kellogg's workers are not the first to strike during the pandemic.
Earlier this summer, more than 600 workers at a Frito-Lay plant in Topeka, Kansas went on strike over working conditions during the pandemic, including forced overtime, which ended in July when they ratified a new agreement.
According to the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, workers at Nabisco plants in five states also went on strike in August to protest plans to transfer some jobs to Mexico, which ended last month after a new contract was ratified.