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Kellogg and its cereal workers union reach a tentative deal to end 2-month strike

Kellogg workers demonstrate in front of one of the company's cereal plants in Battle Creek, Mich., on Oct. 7
Rey Del Rio
Getty Images
Kellogg workers demonstrate in front of one of the company's cereal plants in Battle Creek, Mich., on Oct. 7

The Kellogg Company and the union for roughly 1,400 of its cereal plant workers have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, ending a nearly two-month strike.

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

The company was "pleased" to reach the agreement and thanked the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service for helping in the negotiations, Kellogg spokesperson Kris Bahner said in a statement.

Kellogg workers walked off the job on Oct. 5 at four plants in Battle Creek, Mich.; Lancaster, Penn.; Memphis, Tenn. and Omaha, Neb. The company and the union were unable to reach consensus on the terms of a new contract after the previous one expired, and the union claimed Kellogg threatened to send jobs to Mexico, but company officials deniedthat.

Kellogg has a two-tiered wage system, which some companies argue helps them save money. The tentative five-year agreement announced this week would include a 3% wage hike for long-time legacy employees, as well as 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.

There wouldn't be any changes to employees' current health care plans, but the agreement would add new dental and vision benefits.

The strike at Kellogg is one of many labor actions that erupted in the U.S. this year. Workers everywhere from John Deere to Frito-Lay to McDonald's have walked off the job in recent months.

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Joe Hernandez
[Copyright 2024 NPR]