“We are pleased to announce that Kellogg Company and the union have reached a tentative agreement for a new five-year labor contract covering 1,400 employees at our US cereal plants in Battle Creek, Mich., Lancaster, Penn., Memphis, Tenn. and Omaha, Neb.,” said Kris Bahner, a Kellogg Company spokesperson.
The tentative deal gives workers much of what they said they wanted — though maybe not as quickly as they had been demanding. A two-tier wage system that paid more recent hires less in salary and benefits had been a key sticking point in the talks.
According to the company, the agreement would bring the lower-tier workers with at least four years at the company up to the upper tier immediately upon ratification. It also would have a path for other lower tier workers to move to the upper tier during the five years of the agreement.
And the statement from the union’s president did not praise the terms of the agreement or claim it was a victory for the union and the members, as is often done with agreements are reached that have the full support of the union leadership.
“I want to thank and commend all of the members of the bargaining committee for their many, many hours of extremely hard work to reach this tentative agreement,” said Anthony Shelton, the union’s international president. “As always in our union, the members will have the final say on the contract.”
And both of those deals were more lucrative than the one now being considered by workers at Kellogg.
For the first half of this year Kellogg reported that excluding currency adjustments and special items, sales were up 2% from a year prior and earnings were down 3%. Overall sales for the company have been flat for an extended period, rising only 6% overall from 2016 through 2020.
Striking Kellogg workers have also spoken of their ability to stay out by finding temporary jobs to supplement their strike benefits.
— CNN Business’ Rob Mclean contributed to this report.