BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Kellogg Company's union workers continue to strike after a negotiation committee representing them wasn’t satisfied with the company’s latest offer.
The around 325 workers have been out picketing at the Battle Creek plant for 31 days. Other Kellogg's workers at other plants in Nebraska, Tennessee and Pennsylvania are also on strike.
"We’re just out here trying to get as much attention out here as we can," said a Kellogg Company machine operator and part-time crew leader Mike Cramutolo.
Mike Cramutolo has worked at Kellogg's for 10 years.
"I love this job. I have actually got to know the people here on strike more, and I’m actually feeling a lot closer to them than I have when I was inside," said Cramutolo.
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All members of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union (BCTGM) Local 3-G are fighting to block a system that would prevent some employees from receiving full benefits and earning a pension.
As they head into week five, it is getting more real.
"It’s a financial hardship, but my family has been preparing for this," said Cramutolo.
Union workers said this strike has been a long time coming.
Negotiations ended just before 5:20 p.m. Wednesday after the company provided their “last best and final offer,” which did not achieve “a pathway to fully vetted workers without takeaways,” the committee said.
Because the committee wasn’t satisfied with the company’s proposal, union members will not be able to vote on it.
Brothers and Sisters,
We met for the last time today. We again agreed to negotiate later than our usual end time in hopes we could get something we can recommend. Negotiations ended at 5:19pm after the company gave us their last best and final offer. That offer did not achieve what we were asking, a pathway to fully vetted workers without takeaways. The company said they would get off their 2-tier and get to a pathway, but they could not find a fully benefitted way to achieve this. With this issue, we were unable to address the other items that are still on the table. We cannot recommend this offer and will not bring it back for the membership to vote on. We agreed that we will not have concessions and that is all their last offer was.
We will be home tomorrow. We will continue this fight for as long as it takes!
Continue to hold the line and stand strong.
-The Negotiation Committee
Kellogg’s is no longer proposing a permanent two-tiered structure and continues the current pathway to legacy wages and benefits in its latest offer.
However, the company says their offer comes with “significant” wage increases for current and future transitional employees.
“The union continues to insist on proposals that are unsustainable and unrealistic,” Kellogg’s said in a statement. “They’ve proposed adding costs that would threaten the future success of our plants and cereal business.”
Some highlights include:
Read the "Last Best Final Offer" here.
Kellogg Company released the statement below following negotiations.
Our negotiations have concluded for the day. This afternoon, the company presented a revised offer to the Union.
We are no longer proposing a permanent two-tiered structure. We have offered to continue the current pathway to Legacy wages and benefits, but with significant wage increases for current and future Transitional employees. We’ve proposed maintaining COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) for Legacy employees. We’ve proposed no changes to current healthcare plans, and in fact, have proposed enhanced benefits for all employees.
The union continues to insist on proposals that are unsustainable and unrealistic. They’ve proposed adding costs that would threaten the future success of our plants and cereal business.
Our proposals include:
- Continuation of current pathway to Legacy wages and benefits for Transitional employees
- Wage increases for all, including:
- 3% upon ratification for Legacy employees, and COLA in the following three years
- $2-$5/hour increases for Transitional employees depending on years of service
- Enhanced benefits for all employees
- Increased pension multiplier for Legacy employees
We’ve consistently addressed what the union has said are their primary concerns.
This is our “Last Best Final Offer” to the union. We asked the union to allow our employees to vote the offer. The union immediately rejected the offer and told us they would not put it before employees for a vote.
The Company remains ready and willing to consider any realistic offers from the union.
Our proposal reflects the contributions of our employees while helping us meet the challenges of the changing cereal business. This offer expires at 11:59 PM, November 11, 2021.
With no agreement as of now, union workers are starting to see the effects.
Cramutolo said he hasn't received a paycheck in six weeks due to being quarantined for COVID right before the strike began.
Now, he's thinking about his family.
"There has been an impact, but I have actually gotten a lot more time with them, so it has been a nice balance," said Cramutolo.
Union members said they will continue to strike until a deal is reached.
The offer presented to the union's negotiation committee by Kellogg's expires at 11:59 p.m. on November 11, 2021.