Labor strikes target Big Food as workers seize on industry turmoil

Workers at Kellogg, Mondelēz and Frito-Lay are demanding concessions from companies at a time of labor shortages, increased product demand and supply chain disruption across the U.S.


Chris Casey, FoodDive

Oct. 6, 2021


At food plants around the country this year, workers have been making themselves heard about the state of wages, working hours and conditions.


Just this week, roughly 1,400 Kellogg workers at ready-to-eat cereal plants in four states — Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nebraska and Tennessee — went on strike after their contract expired. In a statement, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) said its goal is to "obtain a fair contract that provides a living wage and good benefits."


Anthony Shelton, BCTGM's president, said Kellogg workers "have been working long, hard hours, day in and day out, to produce Kellogg ready-to-eat cereals for American families" but that the company has responded by cutting benefits and threatening to send jobs to Mexico if employees don't accept the company's proposals.


"Kellogg is making these demands as they rake in record profits, without regard for the well-being of the hardworking men and women who make the products that have created the company’s massive profits," Shelton said in a statement.


Just a couple weeks earlier, more than a thousand workers returned to their jobs at Mondelēz Nabisco factories in five states after a walkout that lasted nearly six weeks. It also was led by BCTGM. The workers were protesting what they considered unfair changes in overtime rules and shift lengths.


This came a few months after hundreds of Frito-Lay employees in Topeka, Kansas, were on strike in July for 19 days, demanding better hours and higher pay. That same month, dozens of...


Uncertain outcomes ... 


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