Monday, October 18, 2021

Battle Creek Kellogg workers picketing against contract givebacks are part of ‘Striketober’

Posted By on Mon, Oct 18, 2021 at 11:29 AM

click to enlarge More than 1,400 Kellogg's workers are on strike. - BAKERY, CONFECTIONERY, TOBACCO WORKERS AND GRAIN MILLERS INTERNATIONAL UNION
  • Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union
  • More than 1,400 Kellogg's workers are on strike.


Almost 1,400 union workers at four Kellogg plants, including Battle Creek, have been on strike since last week — and they’re part of a growing national movement that supporters like U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have dubbed “Striketober.”

“After years of being underserved and taken for granted – & doubly so during the pandemic – workers are starting to authorize strikes across the country,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

She noted the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) workers striking at Kellogg in protest of job cuts and the two-tier wage system, as well as more than 10,000 UAW workers striking at John Deere and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) who are planning to strike.

There have been at least 175 strikes this year.

So what’s behind Striketober? Reporter Ahiza García-Hodges sums it up for NBC News: “After 19 months of balancing their health and safety working the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, many low-wage workers have had enough. They’re demanding increased wages, meal and rest breaks, better benefits and shorter shifts. From health care to Hollywood, nearly 100,000 U.S. workers are either striking or preparing to strike to improve working conditions.”

The BCTGM union representing workers at Kellogg plants in Battle Creek, Memphis, Omaha and Lancaster, Pa. says that after employees pulled long hours through the pandemic, the company is now demanding workers “give up quality health care, retirement benefits, and holiday and vacation pay. The company continues to threaten to send additional jobs to Mexico if workers do not accept outrageous proposals that take away protections that workers have had for decades.”

In September, Kellogg announced it planned to cut 212 jobs at the Battle Creek plant over the next two years.

“While this is the right thing to do for the business, any decision that impacts people is incredibly difficult,” Kellogg spokesperson Kris Bahner said in a written statement. “We are committed to helping our talented and dedicated employees, and we are devoted to working with them and their union to ensure they have outplacement assistance, resources and support through this transition.”

U.S. Rep. Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Twp.) is among those who have expressed solidarity with striking workers across the country.

“Former union organizer here,” he tweeted on Thursday. “Safe to say I’m heartened to see the strike wave around the country. There’s nothing more beautiful than workers utilizing the power of solidarity to stand together and demand higher wages, better benefits and safer working conditions.”

Originally published October 15, 2021 on Michigan Advance. It is shared here with permission.

Stay connected with Detroit Metro Times. Subscribe to our newsletters, and follow us on Google News, Apple News, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Reddit.

Tags: , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 24, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation