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Local union leader says ‘no citations’ issued by police related to strike at Omaha Kellogg's plant

Local union leader says ‘no citations’ issued by police related to strike at Omaha Kellogg's plant

[NFA] Thousands of unionized workers are striking across the U.S., demanding higher pay, as rising prices and labor shortages squeeze American employers. This report produced by Zachary Goelman.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story inaccurately characterized a statement by local union president Dan Osborn. The story has been updated to accurately reflect that statement.

Days after Kellogg Company received a temporary restraining order following alleged menacing and illegal acts by striking workers, the local union president released a statement stating there have been no citations issued by law enforcement.

The statement from Dan Osborn on Friday came two days after the company requested and was granted a temporary restraining order that places limitations on the actions union members can take at the cereal plant.

Kellogg, in a complaint filed earlier this week, alleges that members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union have engaged in illegal behavior at the Omaha facility. The allegations by Kellogg include claims that union members have trespassed, physically obstructed vehicles at the plant and threatened people still working at the facility.

In his statement, Osborn said, “There have been absolutely no citations issued by local law enforcement regarding the way we have been handling this legal work stoppage.”

An Omaha police spokesman told The World-Herald that he hadn’t heard of any police reports filed regarding striking employees as of Friday afternoon.

Along with union members at Kellogg production facilities in Tennessee, Michigan and Pennsylvania, 480 employees at the Omaha plant have been on strike since Oct. 5 after the expiration of the previous collective bargaining agreement.

Osborn said Kellogg’s complaint “does not deprive or take away any of our rights.” He added that many union members have felt “betrayed” and “bewildered” by actions they allege that Kellogg has taken, including suspending insurance for employees and paying temporary workers more than what it pays union employees. Osborn said Kellogg is spending a significant amount of money to keep union members out of the facility.

Kris Bahner, a spokeswoman for Kellogg, said in a statement, “We respect the right of employees to lawfully communicate their position in this matter. We sought a Temporary Restraining Order to help ensure the safety of all individuals in the vicinity of the plant, including the picketers themselves.”

“People safety is paramount to what we do,” she added. “As Kellogg continues to conduct business at the plant, we are concerned about dangerous and unlawful behavior, such as blocking plant access, threatening violence against individuals entering the plant and damaging property, to name a few.”

As the strike continues into its second month, Osborn said the union is working on getting counselors out to picket lines and finding resources for its members.

In a post Thursday on its website, Kellogg noted the expiration of its “Last Best Final Offer” to the union, which wasn’t brought to a vote. The company said no further negotiations are scheduled.

A hearing on the restraining order originally set for next Wednesday has been rescheduled for Nov. 22.

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