With the ongoing strike at Kellogg Co. concluding its first week, management brought temporary workers to the State Road plant for the first time Monday morning, a local union leader said.
Kerry Williams, president of Local 374 of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers, which represents the plant’s production workers, said four busloads of temporary workers arrived at 6:45 a.m.
It’s not known how many temporary workers were on the buses or how much Kellogg is paying them.
“I hope these people work safely,” Williams said, noting that newly hired production workers undergo two weeks of orientation, followed by up to two months of on-the-job training.
“Even then, you still have a ways to go until you’re proficient. When you start a new job, the textbook doesn’t always cover everything.”
Some 380 union members at the East Hempfield Township plant, among 1,400 employees at Kellogg’s four cereal-making plants nationwide, went off the job last Tuesday when their five-year master contract expired. The master contract sets wages and benefits.
After the walkout got underway, Kellogg said last week it would implement contingency plans – having salaried employees and temporary workers man the idled production equipment. According to Williams, management also brought temporary workers to the other three cereal-making plants, which are in Omaha, Nebraska, Memphis, Tennessee, and Battle Creek, Michigan, where Kellogg is headquartered.
Kellogg did not respond to LNP | LancasterOnline’s request for specific information about the staffing of the State Road plant’s production lines.
Williams said the union members are “frustrated that Kellogg would spend millions of dollars on ‘scabs’ and security guards and buses rather than give us a fair and equitable contract. They want to cry that they’re not making money, yet they’re willing to do this.”
Products made at the State Road plant before the strike include Corn Flakes, Frosted Flakes, Raisin Bran, Special K, Shredded Wheat, Frosted Shredded Wheat, Crispix, All Bran and Rice Krispies cereals.
The walkout is only the second in the 45-year-old plant's history. The only other strike here was a three-week walkout in 1985, LNP | LancasterOnline records show.
John Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor and a candidate for U.S. Senate, visited the State Road picket line Saturday to show his support for the striking workers.