Employees voted to ratify a new contract to end a work stoppage that began in early October.
Kellogg’s workers ended their strike against the cereal maker on Tuesday December 21st after more than two and a half months on the picket line.
The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers’ International Union said workers voted to approve a new five-year collective bargaining agreement with the company. The vote was held on Sunday and the ballots were counted on Tuesday.
The strike involved 1,400 workers at four facilities in Battle Creek, Michigan; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Omaha, Nebraska; and Memphis, Tennessee, significantly cutting back production of household-name cereal brands like Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes.
One of the main sticking points in the dispute was the company’s “two-tier” compensation system that divides workers into two different classes, “legacy” employees and “transitional” employees. Legacy workers, who typically earn around $30 an hour, have a higher pay scale and better health and pension benefits than their transitional counterparts.
Under the new deal, all workers will receive an immediate raise, after which they’ll receive a cost-of-living adjustment each year of the contract, according to an outline (PDF) from the company. The new starting rate for transitional employees will be $24.11 per hour. All workers’ health care plans will stay the same, and pension benefits will increase for legacy workers.
The contract also guarantees that no plants will be shut down through October 2026.
The agreement does not end the two-tier system, but it offers a path for some transitional employees to graduate into the legacy tier. Transitional workers who have four years on the job will immediately move into legacy positions when the contract is ratified. At each plant, another 3% of workers will move into legacy roles each year of the contract.
That marks an improvement on what Kellogg’s initially proposed: an expansion of the lower tier with no clear way to move into the higher tier unless positions opened up. The union noted in its statement that the new contract means “no permanent two-tier system.”