MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A judge has ordered Kellogg’s to let locked-out employees return to work.
U.S. District Judge Samuel ‘Hardy’ Mays agreed with the National Labor Relations Board, which claimed the company illegally locked out more than 200 workers nine months ago.
Mays’ injunction also orders Kellogg’s to return to negotiations with the workers’ union. He did not, however, rule on a back pay request.
Kellogg’s has a five-day window to organize schedules.
Talks broke down last fall after the company said it wanted to bring in a some “casual workers” at a lower pay. In his ruling, Mays said Kellogg’s engaged in unfair labor practices when it locked out employees.
Thursday, those workers were celebrating the victory, but said they weren’t ready to leave the picket line in front of the plant just yet.
They say until Kellogg’s opens the front gates and officially welcomes them back, they’ll be staying put.
“Although the judge ruled in our favor, I won’t be happy until those gates open because then I can go to work,” said Nathaniel Bogan.
The locked-out workers will be going back to working making the same hourly wages.
Kellogg’s released this statement:
“On April 15, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a petition for an injunction in federal court seeking to bring Kellogg’s employees in Memphis back to work and end the lockout, returning employees to work under the expired contract.
This evening, July 30, U.S. District Judge Mays ruled to grant the injunction and ordered Kellogg to return Memphis employees to work, and we continue to thoroughly review the ruling.
We look forward to our employees returning to work, but we are disappointed that we have been unable to reach an agreement with the union, and that the underlying litigation will continue.
We stand by our position that our proposals are entirely lawful and appropriate for local negotiations, however we will fully comply with the order.”