The 1,400 workers on strike against Kellogg’s since Oct. 5 are fighting for all workers. Members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) are battling the company’s two-tier system of wages and benefits.
The cereal killers who run Kellogg’s don’t believe in equal pay for equal work. Newly hired workers ― called “transitional employees” by the company ― are paid around $12 dollars less per hour than “regular” full-time workers but have to pay more for health insurance. Forget about pensions.
Kellogg’s forced workers to accept two-tier in 2015 under threat of closing two of its cereal plants, including the one in Memphis, Tennessee. The year before, management illegally locked out workers in the city where Dr. King was assassinated.
Lower paid transitional workers now account for 30 percent of the workforce. Kellogg’s wants to be able to increase their number while still denying them retirement benefits.
Unequal wages for the same work harms solidarity between workers while Kellogg’s ran to the bank with $1.76 billion in profit last year. It’s to the credit of workers with more seniority and higher pay that they voted down Kellogg’s contract proposal that would continue this rotten inequality.
Among them was Marvin Rush, an electrician and member of BCTGM Local 252G in Memphis who spoke to Jason Kerzinski of the “Progressive” magazine. “We are out here fighting against the two-wage system,”‘ said Rush, “and for the next generation of workers to have the same pay and benefits.”
Kellogg’s doesn’t believe in an 8-hour work day and a 40-hour work week either. Forced overtime is a rule, with many union members working 72-to-84-hour work weeks….