Kellogg’s has locked out 220 members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers’ International Union (BCTGM), since October 22, 2013. This is part of an effort by Kellogg’s to force union acceptance of a plan to increase the use of casual workers. The BCTGM, the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF), and Congressman Steve Cohen (D- 9th District, Memphis) are fighting for fair negotiations and the rights of the plant workers.
The IUF, based in Geneva, Switzerland, is an international federation of trade unions representing workers employed in many sectors, including the preparation and manufacture of food and beverages. It consists of 393 trade unions in 125 countries, representing more than 12 million workers. Its main concern is international labor solidarity.
According to the details outlined in Kellogg’s plan, all newly hired workers would be considered casual workers, with no dependable hours at appreciably lower benefits and pay. The IUF insists that casual work must be negotiated within the framework of their agreement — the Master Agreement of 2012, which is supposed to limit casual work, is still in force.
According to the IUF, if Kellogg’s succeeds in implementing its new plan, workers will earn USD$6 less per hour (i.e., USD$12,480 less per year), before overtime. The IUF is advocating urgent action on this matter. Congressman Cohen recently gave a speech to the U.S. House of Representatives proclaiming, “I see them [the plant workers] on holidays, weekends, you name it. Fighting for their rights. Standing up for themselves. It is time to end this lockout and put those people back to work. Let’s produce our cereal with good, Memphis employees.”
In addition, BCTGM workers at the Kellogg’s plant in London, Ontario, Canada were told in December that their plant would be closing in 2014, and that some of this production will be reassigned to the plant in Memphis. The Memphis workers are demanding negotiated standards against the expansion of disposal jobs and, according to the IUF, “battling for the future of the next generation of Kellogg’s workers.”
The IUF is calling on consumers to use this form to send a message to Kellogg’s to rectify this situation!