MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Operations are at a halt for the Kellogg Company’s Memphis plant after 300 workers went on strike Tuesday.
Memphis union representatives said they are preparing to strike for as long as needed until their contract negotiations are met.
Memphis’ union president Rob Eafen said they’re fighting against “corporate greed” and for the next generation of workers.
He said while longtime employees like himself have good paying jobs and benefits, new employees would be paid less, by as much as $13, and have to pay more for benefits.
Eafen said the union believes in equal treatment and pay of all employees.
“Do not deprive these people, of what is rightfully theirs what they've worked for,” Eafen said. “It’s not getting any cheaper to live, so why should they accept lower wages and higher cost of benefits? We're all try to feed our families. We’re all trying to do the right things for this company. It's time for this company to do the right thing for us.”
The last time union workers went on strike at the Memphis plant was in 2013-2014.
That strike lasted 275 days, Eafen said.
Eafen said the difference that time was Memphis was on strike alone. This time it’s an unified strike joining the picket lines with Michigan, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania plants.
Kellogg Spokesperson Kris Bahner released this statement:
“Kellogg is committed to negotiating a fair and competitive contract that reflects the contributions of our employees and helps set our cereal business up for long-term success. Our current proposals not only maintain industry-leading pay and benefits for employees, but offer significant increases in wages, benefits and retirement. We remain available to talk with the union at any time and we are prepared for any outcome at contract expiration.”
Tennessee AFL-CIO President Billy Dycus issued the following statement:
"Every worker deserves to be treated with dignity, respect, and fairness on the job. No excuses, nothing less. Our BCTGM brothers and sisters have a simple request: to earn a living wage at a time when corporate greed continues to spiral out-of-control and receive good benefits that can support their families. The Tennessee AFL-CIO stands in solidarity with BCTGM Local 252G in Memphis and all of the union’s members who are affected by the strike in Nebraska, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. We call on Kellogg's to come to the bargaining table and ensure that a fair agreement is reached quickly. The state federation and its affiliates are ready and willing to assist as needed throughout the duration of the strike."