BATTLE CREEK — Food manufacturer Kellogg Company announced late Thursday that it has reached a tentative agreement with the union that represents 1,400 of its ready-to-eat cereal plant workers.
Pending approval from both sides, the agreement would end a labor strike that started in early October and grew especially contentious recently when the Battle Creek-based Kellogg started to hire permanent employees to take the place of those on strike.
“We value all of our employees,” Kellogg Chairman and CEO Steve Cahillane said in a statement. “They have enabled Kellogg to provide food to Americans for more than 115 years. We are hopeful our employees will vote to ratify this contract and return to work.”
On the heels of multiple failed trips to the negotiation table, Kellogg now seems confident that it has established measures that fall in favor with the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), which represents 1,400 employees at cereal plants in Battle Creek, Lancaster, Pa., Memphis, Tenn. and Omaha, Neb.
The new deal offers a $1.10/hour wage increase for all employees in addition to cost-of-living adjustments.
Employees would maintain their current health care benefits, while Kellogg is granting new dental benefits for transitional employees and vision benefits for all.
The company features a two-tier payment structure that designates workers as transitional or legacy employees. A consistent sticking point for BCTGM during negotiations was to provide a quicker path from transitional to legacy employee status.
The latest deal did not shorten that transition in any way, but instead more clearly defines it.
Employees with four or more years of service would graduate to legacy wages and benefits, according to the company.
The latest announcement comes after failed negotiations earlier in the month where BCTGM leadership rejected a 3-percent raise in salary for its employees. The union will reportedly vote on the proposed deal on Sunday.