(Memphis) Kellogg's executives today told us their status with their workers has not changed, despite an announcement at the NAACP Gala Thursday night by the NAACP president.
Rev. Keith Norman said he received a letter from Kellogg, which said they are committing to sit down with the union and start negotiations.
Employees have been locked out of the plant since their contract expired last fall.
In a statement, a representative for Kellog said the company wants union leaders to let their members vote on a new contract:
Kellogg wants to see our employees back at work as soon as possible, and every week we continue to offer to meet with the union or consider any proposals that the union would like to offer, in an effort to finalize a supplemental contract to end the lockout.
The status of our negotiations with the BCTGM, however, has not changed.
Unfortunately, the BCTGM walked away from the bargaining table days before the contract expired. Since that time, they have not provided our proposed contract to the membership for a vote, nor have they offered any written counter proposals of their own. In fact, they have not offered any proposals – whatsoever – and continue to refuse to participate in negotiations, despite our repeated requests.
Our proposal protects the significantly above-market wages and benefits Kellogg provides current employees in Memphis. On average, these employees earn $28 per hour, which with overtime averages $98,000 annually. This is between 25 percent and 79.5 percent higher than the market, depending on the position. They also are guaranteed full healthcare for themselves and their spouses, at no cost to them, for life. Kellogg’s proposed contract protects the wages and benefits of current Memphis employees – they will not see any changes to their wages or benefits.
Wages proposed for new hires also are extremely competitive, averaging between 17 percent and 42 percent higher than comparable positions in the Memphis area. In fact, under our proposed contract, new employees would earn an average of $22 per hour, which equates to a base salary of approximately $45,700 before any overtime. In comparison, the average annual income in Memphis is $40,685 per year.
Kellogg remains committed to reaching a fair and competitive contract that allows our Memphis cereal plant employees to continue to make the good living they long have enjoyed – even as we continue to face a tough and highly competitive market for our cereal products. The changes we are proposing will enable long-term and sustainable operations at the Memphis plant. That’s good for the employees, the community and the company.
The contract dispute between Kellogg and its 225 local union workers started late last year.
Kellogg has said any contract changes would not affect current employees, rather they would be implemented for future hires.