Leaked Email Says Kellogg’s Deal With Union Provides ‘No Gain Overall’ for Workers

A Kellogg’s plant manager stated in a leaked email that the recently announced tentative agreement with the union “does not provide any overall profit” for workers.

“Soon, [the] the total amount of money (cost) remains the same. It just transfers money from one bucket to another, “said Gregory Jackson, a plant manager at Battle Creek, in a leaked email obtained by Michigan Advance on Friday.” There is no overall profit for them with 3 more weeks of strike and no income. No bonus for ratification. “

A Kellogg spokesperson defended the new deal and weighed in on Jackson’s leaked email Saturday in a statement to Newsweek.

“Jackson’s description of the deal was taken out of context,” the spokesman said. “The tentative agreement is more than fair and should be ratified.”

Jackson reportedly sent the email to closing staff, including supervisors below him, but some union workers, the International Union of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco and Grain Millers (BCTGM), also received it.

Union workers are on strike at four plants in Battle Creek, Michigan; Omaha, Nebraska; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee. They demand an end to Kellogg’s two-tier system in which newer workers receive less pay and fewer benefits than experienced workers.

On Thursday, the company reached a tentative agreement with the 1,400 workers, who have been on strike since October 5. BCTGM members are expected to vote on that new offering on Sunday.

“We are pleased that the Kellogg Company and the union have reached a recommended tentative agreement for a new five-year employment contract covering 1,400 employees at our US grain plants in Battle Creek, Michigan, Lancaster, Penn., Memphis, Tennessee and Omaha., Nebraska. We are hopeful that our employees will vote to ratify this contract and return to work, “the company spokesman said. Newsweek on Saturday.

The tentative settlement includes cost-of-living adjustments, an increase of $ 1.10 per hour for all workers, and better health care and retirement benefits.

“We are confident this will pass,” Jackson said of the deal in his email. “Most of the union’s bargaining committee is in favor of this and plans to recommend it.”

“I know everyone is tired and tense at the plant, please try to focus on what we have to do. Please try to keep negotiations to a minimum at the plant around the workers,” he added.

Newsweek contacted the union for comment.

In response to Jackson’s leaked email, BCTGM member Donivan Williams said he is not surprised by the manager’s comments, according to the Michigan Advance.

“It’s scary. But it doesn’t surprise me at all,” Williams said. “[Jackson was] “comfort them [his staff] with our [union workers’] pain.”

In the statement on the new deal, Kellogg’s said that most workers earned an average of $ 120,000 in 2020, but union workers argued that they worked more than 80 hours to achieve it, and only “legacy” senior employees can earn these. wages.

The Kellogg agreement has no "to win" to the workers
A Kellogg’s plant manager in Michigan said in a leaked email that a tentative agreement reached with the union does not provide benefits to workers. Above, Kellogg’s workers demonstrate outside the plant in Battle Creek, Michigan, on October 7.
Photo by Rey Del Rio / Getty Images

The strike has received support from several high-profile politicians, including Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who held a rally in Battle Creek in front of Kellogg’s headquarters on Friday, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer.

The strike is “about what this country and our economy are supposed to represent,” Sanders tweeted a day before the rally. “I am proud to support the workers.”

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden said on December 10 that he was “deeply concerned” about the way the company is dealing with its striking workers.

“Permanently replacing striking workers is an existential attack on the union and the jobs and livelihoods of its members,” Biden said. “I have long opposed permanent forward replacements and strongly support legislation that would ban that practice.”

His comments came shortly after Kellogg’s said it will permanently replace its striking union workers.

“[The] The prolonged work stoppage has left us no choice but to hire permanent replacement employees in the positions vacated by the striking workers, “the company said in a statement.

However, Kellogg’s spokesperson confirmed Saturday that the striking workers have not been replaced, adding that the company is not expanding any job offerings at this time pending ratification of the recommended agreement.

“Our cereal plants have ongoing vacancies that we will continue to fill as needed. If the tentative agreement is ratified, we will begin working with local unions on plans for employees to return to work,” the spokesperson said.

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