(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.