Block party held on Kellogg’s picket line, as strike nears third week

Published: Oct. 23, 2021 at 9:36 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Kellogg’s workers are saying “one day longer and one day stronger” as their strike nears its third week.

On Saturday, picketers and community partners held a block party event outside the gates of the Memphis plant, featuring food trucks, DJs, and even a car show from the Beale Street Corvette Club.

“We’re just having a community solidarity event,” said Kevin Bradshaw, VP of the local BCTGM union.

Kellogg’s says they are continuing to push for a new contract with employees, wanting to negotiate on the contract that was proposed by corporate in late September.

“Our number one priority is to get back to the negotiations table and reach a contract so our employees can get back to their jobs and their lives,” said Kris Bahner, the Kellogg’s spokesperson, in a video message last week.

Bradshaw says the company hasn’t made contact with any of the union leaders at the four U.S. plants since before the strike began.

“They’ve made a lot of public statements that they were willing and eager to get back to the table and negotiate in good faith, but they haven’t reached out to anyone,” Bradshaw said.

One of the main concerns employees have from the new contract proposal comes from a two-tier pay system that would pay new hires $23 an hour, which sounds like a lot but is $13 less than what they would make in the previous contract.

During the strike, Kellogg’s has bussed temporary workers into plant in Memphis, but Bradshaw says he isn’t worried.

“It’s just a scare tactic and a stalemate to try and save public face and convince investors that they are doing the right thing and they’ve going to be able to supply the needs of the business, but we know they can’t do that,” he said.

Bradshaw and fellow strikers are hoping they are able to outlast corporate’s efforts to stock shelves amid a global supply chain backup.

“They may have started some equipment up, but they’re not running anything in production,” Bradshaw said. “We know from just looking around the world, even here in the city of Memphis and surrounding areas, that the shelves are low.”

Kellogg’s has already cut off striking employees’ healthcare, according to Bradshaw, but picketers have stood together and plan to until they reach a fair deal with their employers.

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