Deadlock broken: Kellogg and BCTGM agree on labor contract

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

The new master contract will come into force October 4, this year
The new master contract will come into force October 4, this year

Related tags: Trade union

Kellogg has finalized a five-year contract for employees across four US ready-to-eat (RTE) cereal plants following a difficult year with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM).

The cereal giant and trade union both agreed to ratify a new master contract that covers 1,300 employees at RTE cereal plants in Battle Creek, Memphis, Omaha and Lancaster. The contract comes into force October 4, 2015.

The agreement comes after more than a year of disputes, involving a 10-month lockout of more than 200 employees​, civil rights protests​, US senator interventions​ and legal proceedings​.

Kris Charles, vice president of communications at Kellogg, said the company was pleased it had settled on an agreement with the union.

“This fair and competitive contract recognizes the important work of our employees and helps to ensure the long-term success of our ready-to-eat cereal plants and our business,”​ she told BakeryandSnacks.com.

Casual employee concerns

Charles said under the new master contract, a transitional classification of employees would replace current ‘casual employee’ construct.

“This new classification will provide competitive wages and benefits along with the opportunity to reach regular employee status,”​ she explained.

The use of casual employees at the plants was the root cause of disputes between Kellogg and the BCTGM​ from the start as union members raised concerns over a lack of security and worker rights under these contracts.

Negotiations ‘were not easy’

Jethro Head, vice president at BCTGM, said there had been a fine team effort involved in negotiations.

Head, who co-chaired the union negotiating team, said: “These negotiations were not easy and the local union leaders worked diligently to address the issues. They made difficult and important decisions on behalf of their respective members.”

He said the five-year contract gave “security and hope for the future”​ to its union members.

David Durkee, president of the BCTGM, agreed and said the agreement could create a revitalized, constructive and mutually beneficial working partnership with Kellogg.

“I highly commend the BCTGM leadership team that negotiated this agreement and the membership of our ready-to-eat cereal locals and Kellogg for arriving at this quality five-year agreement,”​ he said.

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