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Workers at Kellogg's cereal plants, including Omaha's, go on strike

Workers at Kellogg's cereal plants, including Omaha's, go on strike

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Workers at all of Kellogg's U.S. cereal plants go on strike (copy)

Employee Travis Huffman joins other union members in a strike outside Kellogg’s cereal plant in Battle Creek, Michigan, on Tuesday.

Work at all of Kellogg’s U.S. cereal plants came to a halt Tuesday as roughly 1,400 workers went on strike.

It wasn’t immediately clear how much the supply of Frosted Flakes or any of the company’s other iconic brands would be disrupted.

The strike includes plants in Omaha; Battle Creek, Michigan; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee.

The union and the Battle Creek-based company have been at an impasse at the bargaining table for more than a year, said Daniel Osborn, president of the local union in Omaha. The dispute involves an assortment of issues such as health care, holiday pay and vacation time, and Osborn said the company has threatened to move some jobs to Mexico.

“A lot of Americans probably don’t have too much issue with the Nike or Under Armor hats being made elsewhere or even our vehicles, but when they start manufacturing our food down where they are out of the FDA control and OSHA control, I have a huge problem with that,” Osborn said.

The company said its offer is fair and would increase wages and benefits for its employees.

“We are disappointed by the union’s decision to strike. Kellogg provides compensation and benefits for our U.S. ready to eat cereal employees that are among the industry’s best,” Kellogg spokesperson Kris Bahner said in a statement.

Osborn said he expects the company to try to bring non-union workers into the plants at some point this week to try to resume operations and maintain the supply of its products.

The company acknowledged that it is “implementing contingency plans” to limit supply disruptions for consumers.

The plants have all continued to operate throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Osborn said, for much of that time workers were putting in 12-hour shifts, seven days a week to keep up production while so many people were out because of the virus.

“The level we were working at is unsustainable,” Osborn said.

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