Some Locked Out Kellogg Workers Earn $100,000

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(Memphis) The national spotlight is shining on the more than 200 Kellogg employees locked out of their jobs for more than three months.

The Kellogg workers have stood on the overpass in front of the cereal company that refuses to let them back on the job until their union agrees to a new contract.

They're here to prove a point and admit it's a sacrifice.

"Were completely disassociated with Kellogg, altogether. They took our insurance. We don't get any kind of pay. We don't get anything from them," said James Redden, employee.

They're thankful for a break in the weather today and for breaking into national headlines.

They're spotlighted in an article in the New York Times about the plight of middle class workers.

Redden said, "We need that kind of exposure. Hopefully, it will grow even bigger and bigger than that and will bring some more attention to the Memphis lockout."

His co-workers agree and believe other American workers will benefit from their stance against a big corporation.

"Once they do it to us, they're going to do it to everybody else," said Louis Chapman, employee

Kellogg employees average about $28 an hour and don't have to contribute to their health insurance.

On average, with overtime, the company says many employees at its Memphis facility make $100,000 a year.

Union members do not dispute the pay but say that is only after working mandatory overtime and includes the cost of benefits they receive.

The company wants lower pay and fewer benefits for new hires to cut costs.

Kellogg says those already on the payroll will keep their salary and benefits, but some aren't buying that.

"They're cutting jobs back and greed is being taken over by the corporate business guys. They ain't doing nothing but knocking out the middle class. The middle class getting completely wiped out," said Redden.

They believe the more people across this country who read and hear their story, the more likely Kellogg is to relinquish some of its new demands on new workers.

Meanwhile, they're waiting on a ruling from the National Labor Relations Board on whether the lock out Kellogg is imposing is legal.

Kellogg employees are represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union which was behind a strike at Hostess, before that company went out of business.


    • Rev Fienx

      This story doesn’t say they are asking for a raise. Their salary is based on their value to their employer, not what you deem as needed to live in Memphis.

    • Munford Molly

      This is not a strike!!! The Kellogg employees were LOCKED OUT!!!! BIG difference. And the union has NOT ask for one thing other than to be put back to work!! So if you want to throw blame some where, that would be to CORPORATE GREED!!!

    • Rev Fienx

      This isn’t a strike. A lock out is not the choice of the employees. Their employer is not allowing them to work.

  • Hire new People!

    Just open the jobs to other people here in Memphis that want them.
    Tennessee has “AT WILL” employment laws – no contract, so hire/fire whomever you want.

  • hateliberalcommies

    Just another example of overpaid workers. Unions are a blight to businesses and protect the lowest performing(lazy) workers,,just like the teachers union..

    • Make Mine Stupid

      There is nothing wrong with unions. In some cases they are needed. But as with all things, you have people that will abuse the system that was created for the good of ALL the workers and twist it into a way that it will only help a few. A union is nothing without proper oversight.

    • Rev Fienx

      How can you know they are “overpaid” from this news story? This report doesn’t state what education, experience, and/or special skills the locked out employees have. It also doesn’t report how many hours overtime they are working in order to make 6 figures. Kellogg didn’t seem to think they were “overpaid” when agreeing to the union contract setting wages and benefits. Kellogg didn’t seem to think they were overpaid when choosing to pay overtime rather than hire adequate staff.

    • Wisdom

      Remember anti-union statements when there is no longer an American middle class…..and your children have no decent jobs.

    • Wisdom

      Remember this anti-union statement when there is no longer an American middle class…..and your children have no decent jobs.

  • Make Mine Stupid

    As a veteran of a certain company that made gift wrapping paper, I can see where the company is coming from a little. I was a witness to what led to the downfall of that company. People that had been there for years SAY that they are for the new workers, but that wasn’t the case in my situation. the established workers were petty and wanted ALL the benefits for THEMSELVES. I’m not saying that is the case here, but I wouldn’t be surprised. And, some of these people made a $100,000 a year, in Memphis?! Good grief! Some people out here who have No job would be happy to take a $60,000 a year salary at Kellogg. Wouldn’t it be better to take a pay cut than to not have a job at all? Let’s be rational here.

      • me

        100,000 a year my Lord I only make 31,000 I am single take care of my children God takes care of the rest . People are so greddy give someone else the job people need them .

      • Theresa

        Ok do the math…$28 an hour 40hrs a week does not ever come close to $100,000 try like 7 days a weeks sometimes 12 or 16 hours a day. i know this because my husband works there. So if you don’t know what your are talking about…might wanna get all the facts!!!

      • Rev Fienx

        Successful employers don’t make it a habit to base salary on your relationship status or how many children you have. It’s not “greedy” to get paid for your value to the company. Value is determined by your qualifications, or perhaps your contacts/clients, and how hiring you improves the bottom line and/or produces a better quality product.

        Kellogg agreed on this value when they signed the union contract.

    • ren

      @ Theresa. No one said that $100,000.00 a year was for regular 40 hour weeks. Most of us can do the math. Guess your husbands locked out?

    • John Appleton

      Hey stupid do your research and realize the hours we work to make that. Dumbass people like you don’t report the truth ever. You put the spin on it that you’d like people to see. Sorry people like you are the reason big companies and government have control over us! d

  • Steve Baker

    I’m a non-union employee in a middle-management position and making a good wage. I previously worked in management at a firm that was a “union shop”. Having witnessed the performance of union workers vs. non-union workers, the non-union workers are, hands-down better performers. My advice to Kellogg (as if they’re listening) is (1) stick to your guns and let the 200 union workers sit still, and (2) do what you can to evolve Kellogg into a non-union shop.

    • Tomy

      Kellogg’s isn’t or the union isn’t? If the union was they would still be working. Maybe the union should invent a product, spend multi millions of dollars on equipment and start their own business. I hope Kellogg’s sticks to their guns and cans them all and then hires people who will work for what THEY will pay, shouldn’t be to hard to find people who want a job in this town

  • 1midtownmike

    It never hurts anyone to be thankful for what they have instead having a “poor me” attitude. Go figure why a box of Kellogg cereal cost $5.00.

    However, greed on the corporate side is to blame as well.

    Work it out, fight it out, I don’t give a rat anymore. I saw the abuse on both sides from 1997-1999 and 2005-2007 as a “contracted” employee.

  • Dave

    Wow, maybe you are not fully reading the article. Those folks base pay is not $100,000 a year. How can you get $100,000 yearly salary off $28 an hour? These folks are working overtime like crazy and it’s probably due to the company cutting back on the number of folks in the workforce. I really don’t have an opinion on who is right or who is wrong in this. However, I have worked for a company without a union before and we were faced out due to the company wanting to go South for cheaper labor. So at the end of the day company profits increase and hourly workers pay and benefits continue to decease. Right, wrong, or indifferent this is how the workforce at many companies or treated

    • Jake

      Assuming you make $28 per hour for a 40 hour work week, you gross $58,240 per year. If you pull another 20 hours per week at 1.5 (or $42 per hour), you make another $43,680 per year or $101,920 per year. Of course if you add in benefits that YOU don’t pay, it goes even higher. Personally, I paid in over $15,000 for insurance benefits alone for my family so there is more to the match than just multiplying an hourly wage by 40 hours by 52 weeks.

  • Joe

    Just wondering the education perquisites and learning curve for a $100,000 position? Are these highly technical jobs? Probably not if temps are running the plant.

    • Rev Fienx

      Do you think there are no educated and highly technical unemployed people willing to accept a temporary job in hopes in becomes permanent or until a better opportunity comes along?

  • Joe Censored

    $28 an hour in 2014 does not exactly support a “life on E street”!!! It is a fair wage, but not nearly over the top. Check upper management and corporate heads salaries. The minions posting negative comments here are laughable. Im in management but grew up in a union household. You blue collar workers against unions are silly to say the least. Enjoy never retiring!!!
    This is all about union breaking, control and bring in the $10 per hour Memphis uneducated workers. Corporate greed 101.

    • Cheryl Marty

      28.00 Is not that much for a skilled Machinist, You have to go to school provide all your own tools, that’s in the thousands, and shop rates are 75.00 to 150.00 an hour, to be making 100000.00 a year they are working 65 to 70 hours a week and NO time off. People need to get real here, Therse are skilled workers not some nimwit that can hardly read and write that thinks he is worth 10 to 15 an hour. These are the kind of Jobs that companies here in Memphis are paying people to move here for

  • Skeptic

    There was a time unions were needed. Now the unions are controlling businesses to their benefit and not the business. Look at the problems with the post office, auto industry, and others. I volunteered at a place that had union employees. Employees could steal, come in drunk, tell the bosses to shove it, and just not do their job. The bosses had to jump thru hoops to fire these employees. The employees could then file a grievance and get their job back. I had dealings with two truck lines. One union and one non-union. The non-union employees were happy and joking around and were very friendly towards me. The union shop all I heard was complaining and they treated me like I was in their way.

  • Don

    On average, with overtime, the company says many employees at its Memphis facility make $100,000 a year.

    On average means that some make a lot more and some don’t.
    I live in S/W Tennessee and I still I lean towards Kellogg when I shop for cereals. I would think making On average, with overtime should be a lot less, I know a few people who work there who are not rocket scientists and were very well to do, (large homes and now vehicles).

    Oh well this is Memphis, You know, the city who threaten businesses who employees who are pay well.

    • Jake

      Stand Strong?? You are risking nothing. It won’t be YOU who is waking up unemployed with hungry children and living in a car. Stand Strong – and take care of your family by KEEPING a job. The folks are worth what the employer will pay them and what they will accept for the task. When an employer wants to pay less or needs to (Hostess) someone has to make a decision on what is best for their family – less money or NO job at all? Or maybe a job change for likely less money? Memphis doesn’t have so many jobs that it’s easy to hop around – whether you want to or not!

  • Gail B.

    People need to get the facts straight. The Union did not ask for more of anythng and they do want to go back to work. Kellogg’s wants to bring in temp workers at lower pay and no benefits, to eventually fase out the middle class workers. All of that was already negotiated in the Master “National” contract and should not be negotiated at a Local level. Oh and by the way, Kellogg’s is also in breach of contract for locking their workers out… there’s a no strike / no lock-out clause in their contract too. That major corporation looked at Memphis as a weak link… workers who had no strike fund, becuase they didn’t think they needed it and put them out of work. Families are losing their homes becuase of Kellogg’s greed, not the workers. One last thing, these workers agreed to work all the 12-16 hr days and 28 days in a row becuase Kellogg’s wanted to reduce the number of employees… that was all Kellogg’s idea. My husband usually only took one day off a month and was continually held over or called in early becuase Kellogg’s doesn’t want to hire anyone else to do the job.

    • Hahaha

      So you’re complaining about the overtime, but standing beside the road instead of allowing Kellogg to hire the casual employees at the lesser rate makes sense to who? And you’re telling me these guys speaking on this video are highly educated skilled workers??? That’s a laugh in itself. I know more intelligent people than this who’d take $10 an hour to do those jobs. It’s a tough market and Kellogg experience would sure look good on a résumé. Which leads me to the question as to why your husbands would allow you to lose your home and insurance instead of getting another job. I mean with all that intelligence and skills they’ve supposedly got you’d think they’d already have new jobs. Looks like a bunch of lazy whiners to me. I wouldn’t let my wife and kids go without a roof over their heads, food on the table, and healthcare. I’d tell that union to go to hell and get back to work.

      • Rev Fienx

        You’re entitled to your opinion, no matter how stupid it is. I think those interviewed did a fine job. I wish the best for them and their families. I wish you the best too, and that you never find yourself in a similar situation of having to decide when it’s time to walk away from, not just a job, but a 25 year career and the retirement you expected to go with it, in order to best support your family.

  • Not a UNION guy

    Kellogg should shut the facility down and move just like Firestone did. The Union is to blame for that too. This is no different.

  • Kaye Jones

    All of you who think Kellogg’s is going to hire you in place of the locked out workers you are sadly mistaken. Oh wait, they will hire you at 10 bucks an hour with no benifits and you will be forced to get Obamacare now that you have a “job”. After taxes and paying for health insurance, you will be forced to eat ramen noodles because that’s all you will be able to afford. If you have not worked at Kellogg’s, you don’t know what you are talking about. They were made to work overtime to keep up production because the company doesn’t want to hire good workers at a descent salary. So, to you idiots, go ahead and call Kellogg’s and get you a job there and see how you are treated without a Union. And by the way, you best believe all the other companies in Memphis are watching this closely. Depending on the outcome, they will be locking their employees out also. Then bad boys, what you gonna do???

  • Sick and tired

    I’m a “locked out “employee and I’d rather what them close the plant before I agree as a union member, for new hires to get paid less, no ins. No pension and do the same job as me. We have always been a family that looked out for future workers hired. You get the same or you don’t get hired. The problem is the greedy idiots in management that can’t run a buisness. I lost my job in 96 when they cut us by 460 and shut down our California plant. Hired back in 97 and for the past 17 years I’ve been working 28 days a month. I’m for a union and hope they unionize every place they can get a foot hold on. The company wants all part time with no benefits. Just like the rest of the big corporations ,so they can pad their pockets and screw you and your family

  • not again

    Why do they have to play the race card like every other black person? They have a black president and all he can do is use the black groups to help end this. Bad choice. This is why all the white people have left Memphis. I can’t believe he went on Thaddeus Matthews show. The man who was indicted for child pornography. Yeah, good choice. Stand on your own instead of trying to make this a black thing. You have white people that are locked out too. It goes to show what kind of white people you have in your union. They can’t even admit what you are doing is racist.

  • Kevin Lewis

    If you are earning $100,000 a year and don’t have a College Degree, you have a very good skilled job. Most of the workers there make a base salary of about $28 per hour or $58,000 a year, with a lot of overtime hours at $42 per hour pushes their pay to $90-$100K. The company has allowed them to earn these amounts via overtime for many, many years and now that they want to use casual workers with lower wages and no benefits threatens the pay of the regular employee’s that won’t be able to get the overtime they need to continue earning that $100K that they need to support the lifestyle they have been living with the overtime. They don’t want the Union to agree to the new contract because they can’t afford to live off their base salary anymore without their overtime, so if you think they are standing up for the new workers…think again…they are worried about themselves and the company knows this, that’s why they locked them out. If they don’t agree to the new contract soon, Kellogg is going to close the plant and reopen under another name and they will be back to working somewhere for $10 per hour and end up loosing everything they have worked for all these years. My suggestion to them is to accept the contract and get that $58K and figure out how to pay for the Big House and Fancy Cars and Trucks later.

  • Pam

    I’m confused are they complaining about the overtime OR complianing because Kelloggs wants to hire help and reduce the overtime???

  • Saintsrescuer

    This lock out has gone on for four months now and it is time for some of the real facts to get out into the public. Kellogg’s workers do make a good wage, they do enjoy health care with limited vision and dental care, and they do have a pension plan though it is not a very good pension plan in terms of most union workers plans. The employees do work a lot of long hours and usually are 2 days a month off. Days off depends on positions and the company can and often does cancel these days off. The Memphis plant works under a Master contract which is voted on all by all four North American Kellogg’s RTE cereal plants. Locally these workers can not “vote” or agree on anything that is covered under this Master contract since it is not up for negotiation to Memphis alone but to all four plants and then not until 2015. What Kellogg’s is not mentioning is that a box of 15.6 oz. of cereal has a total labor cost of only 3 cents. The total cost with labor, packaging, ingredients, etc. is only 34.9 cents for this box. Usuing the average price of a 15.6 oz box of cereal Kellogg’s is making a profit of $3.91 per box. Not bad. Kellogg’s pays their CEO over $3000 per hour. Guess what – just as all CEO’s unless they are the company founder Kellogg’s CEO works under a CONTRACT. For all the anti union comments – CEO’s are considered to be of higher intelligence and they require a contract be negotiated before they accept the CEO job so why shouldn’t a every worker get this same treatment. Kellogg’s sales are down because the CEO refuses to listen to the consumers and they are being boycotted by several different groups and have been for some time now. This is the direct faulth of upper management – not the hourly worker. Kellogg’s was so concerned about their public image that they ended their endorsement of Michael Phelps – the most decorated Olympian of all time because he was featured in a photo with a bong. The woman that they hired to negotiate and lock out these employees in Memphis is a three time DUI offender. I guess drinking and driving is considered O.K. by John Bryant or at least he doesn’t see it as damaging the public image of the company. W.K. Kellogg the company founder would never have allowed this lock out to happen. His moto was: Character can never be produced by money – I’ll invest my money in my people. During the Great Depression W.K. employed 3 shifts of 8 hour workers at his Battle Creek plant. He changed their shifts to 6 hours and hired an additional shift in order to employee as many people as he could. He also adjusted employees pay so that they made the same amount of money for a 6 hour shift as they had made working the 8 hour shifts in the past. What you see now is not the W.K. Kellogg’s vision for his company but the vision of GREED. In the last few years Kellogg’s has taken over 2 billion dollars of their profit and purchased back their own stock. Why? So that their largest stock holders would make more money. Guess who their largest stock holders are? CEO comes to mind. Now WREG report the truth and expose this lock out for what it is. If I can research and find this information out then your reporters should have been able to also.

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