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The strike has lasted almost two months and spanned four plants across the U.S. Photo: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Kellogg’s reaches second agreement with striking workers

They will vote on the proposal on Sunday, Dec. 19, potentially ending a strike that’s lasted almost two months.

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On Thursday, Dec. 16, Kellogg’s said it had reached a second tentative agreement with a union representing about 1,400 workers at four U.S. cereal plants, ending a nearly two-month long strike.

The good giant and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union announced the deal on Thursday, and workers are set to vote on the proposal on Sunday, Dec. 19.

In a statement, Kellogg’s spokesperson Kris Bahner said the company was “pleased” to reach the agreement and thanked the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service for assisting in the negotiations.

Kellogg’s workers walked off the job on Oct. 5 at four plants in Battle Creek, MI, Lancaster, PA, Memphis, TN, and Omaha, NE. The company and the union were unable to reach agreement on the terms of a new contract after the previous one expired, and the union alleged that Kellogg's threatened to send jobs to Mexico. 

The new agreement, which would cover five years, was announced about a week and a half after workers voted against an earlier agreement, prompting the company to announce its decision to move forward with hiring permanent replacements for the employees on strike. 

Last week, President Joe Biden weighed in on the standoff, saying in a statement that he was “deeply troubled” by the plan for permanently replacing striking workers, and called it an “existential attack on the union and its members’ jobs and livelihoods.” 

The new agreement would include a 3% wage increase for long-time legacy employees, and increases for newer, “transitional” workers and new hires based on years of service. 

It would also give those newer workers a defined path to becoming higher-tiered legacy employees. Current "transitional" workers with at least four years at the company would automatically become legacy employees, and each subsequent year of the contract would see 3% of the plant's headcount move up.

The agreement doesn’t include any changes to employees’ current health care plans, but it would add new dental and vision benefits. 

“We value all of our employees. They have enabled Kellogg to provide food to Americans for more than 115 years. We are hopeful our employees will vote to ratify this contract and return to work.” Steve Cahillane, Kellogg’s chief executive, said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Bernie Sanders, the independent U.S. senator from Vermont, announced plans to hold a rally Friday on behalf of Kellogg workers in Battle Creek, MI, the location of the company’s headquarters and one of the striking cereal plants. 

“I look forward to standing with striking Kellogg's workers today in Battle Creek, Michigan. These workers have tremendous courage in not only standing up for themselves, but for future generations against the reckless corporate greed on display by Kellogg's,” Sanders wrote on Twitter.

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