President Joe Biden called upon Kellogg to honor the collective bargaining system and not hire ‘permanent replacements’ or scabs to cross Bakery Workers Union (BCTGM) picket lines and work in the cereal plants.
The president’s action came as BCTGM members continue to hit the bricks outside Kellogg facilities in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nebraska and Tennessee after overwhelmingly rejecting a contract offer earlier in December. The company then announced plans to hire scabs in the latest turn of a strike that is in its third month.
“That’s why I am deeply troubled by reports of Kellogg’s plans to permanently replace striking workers from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International during the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations,” read Biden’s December 10 statement.
“Permanently replacing striking workers is an existential attack on the union and its members’ jobs and livelihoods. I have long opposed permanent striker replacements and I strongly support legislation that would ban the practice.
Biden added, “I urge employers and unions to commit fully to the challenging task of working out their differences at the bargaining table in a manner that fairly advances both parties’ interests.”
BCTGM International President Anthony Shelton thanked Biden for his statement, “The BCTGM is profoundly grateful to the President of the United States for his support for working people and their right to engage in meaningful collective bargaining
“The President’s condemnation of Kellogg’s actions reinforces the position our Kellogg members have taken: they will not be bullied at the negotiating table and are ready to bargain a fair and just contract that rewards them for their hard work and does not sell out future generations of Kellogg employees,” Shelton said.
The strike began October 4 after Kellogg proposed reductions in health care, vacation pay, and retirement benefits as well as possibly moving some production jobs to Mexico, initiating a two-tier pay system for new hires and removing the BCTGM label from cereal boxes. The union is an affiliate of the MTD.