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Striking Kellogg workers and their supporters rally in Battle Creek

Wednesday's union rally in front of Kellogg's corporate headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan
Virginia Gordan
Michigan Radio
Wednesday's union rally in front of Kellogg's corporate headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Labor leaders and members of multiple unions, including the AFL-CIO and the UAW, joined with striking Kellogg workers for a rally on Wednesday in front of Kellogg Company's corporate headquarters in downtown Battle Creek, Michigan.

The strike of roughly 1,400 unionized workers, represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, is in its fourth week. The strike began on October 5.

The strike affects four Kellogg cereal plants in Battle Creek, Michigan; Omaha, Nebraska; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee.

Contract talks between Kellogg and the BCTGM Union are set to resume on Tuesday.

"Hopefully the company is there to reach a reasonable agreement with us," said Trevor Bidelman, president of BCTGM Local 3G that represents the striking Battle Creek workers. "Something that we deserve and that doesn't include selling out the future."

The union wants Kellogg to change its two tiered system that gives lower pay and fewer benefits to newer workers.

Bidelman said another issue is job security.

"Kellogg's endgame seems to be really about pulling jobs out of the United States and shipping them elsewhere," said Bidelman. "So we've got to do something to make sure we put our foot down and stop that as well."

"The strike here is really about the future," said Bidelman. "Now, it's not just simply about what's going on at the Kellogg plant. It's really about the future and making sure that people across the board are done being exploited by corporate greed."

In a written statement, Kellogg spokesperson Kris Bahner said the company is looking forward to getting back to the bargaining table.

"In the meantime, we have implemented contingency plans to mitigate supply disruptions, including using salaried employees and third-party resources to produce food," Bahner wrote. "All four plants are up and running. It is too soon to know what, if any, impact the strike will have on supply."

Virginia Gordan has been a part-time reporter at Michigan Radio since fall 2013. She has a general beat covering news topics from across the state.