Biden calls out Kellogg's for planning to permanently replace strikers

The Detroit News

President Joe Biden weighed in Friday on the strike against Kellogg Co., saying he is "deeply troubled" by the cereal maker's plans to hire permanent replacements for workers who rejected a tentative contract settlement this week.

"Collective bargaining is an essential tool to protect the rights of workers that should be free from threats and intimidation from employers," the president said in a statement. "That’s why I am deeply troubled by reports of Kellogg’s plans to permanently replace striking workers from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International during their ongoing collective bargaining negotiations.

President Joe Biden answers questions from members of the media after delivering closing remarks to the virtual Summit for Democracy, in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Washington.

"Permanently replacing striking workers is an existential attack on the union and its members’ jobs and livelihoods," Biden said. "I have long opposed permanent striker replacements and I strongly support legislation that would ban that practice."

The president urged the two sides to resume bargaining "in a manner that fairly advances both parties’ interests."

Kellogg employee Amanda Abbott thanks honking drivers passing for their support as Kellogg's employees picket while on strike in Battle Creek, MI, Tuesday, October 12, 2021. Abbott has worked at Kellogg for 15 years. About 1,400 Kellogg's workers are on strike nationwide.

The Battle Creek-based company did not immediately respond Friday afternoon to an email from The Detroit News seeking comment.

Kellogg's said this week it would permanently replace the strikers after they overwhelmingly rejected a proposed contract that included 3% pay raises and provisions to allow some workers who make lower wages and benefits to move up to the higher rates enjoyed by longer-tenured employees.

“While certainly not the result we had hoped for, we must take the necessary steps to ensure business continuity,” said Chris Hood, president of Kellogg North America, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. “We have an obligation to our customers and consumers to continue to provide the cereals that they know and love.”

Kellogg's makes cereals such as Frosted Flakes and Cocoa Krispies, Pop Tarts breakfast pastries and Eggo frozen waffles. The 1,400 members of the BCTWGM who work at plants in Battle Creek; Omaha, Nebraska; Memphis, Tennessee, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, have been on strike since Oct. 5.