In 2021 and 2022, the workers at the Kelloggs facilities in Nebraska, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Kansas had to go on strike for up to three months to get a decent contract. When the contract at Kelloggs’ Eggo Waffle facility in San Jose was due to expire in June, that recent history was all too real for the 150 members and Business Rep Ray Torres. Fortunately, with two strike authorizations in hand, no strike was necessary and members got the best contract they’ve ever had.
The four-year contract includes substantial annual wage increases, maintenance of benefits for the health and welfare for the life of the contract, and significant pension contribution increases.
Workers in the maintenance department no longer have to supply their own specialty tools. “That’s money,” says Torres.
They also got two additional sick days, automatic enrollment into the 401(K) plan for new hires, a jury duty benefit for night shift workers, and most importantly, a cap on overtime to no more than five (12-hour) working days in a week.
“It took a lot of internal organizing and working to strengthen the membership for at least a year before we even started holding proposal meetings. We knew we had a long hard fight ahead of us,” says Torres.
“We had a strong committee of five stewards with more than 120 years of service at the company,” Torres adds. “Not only are they experienced stewards but also they know the ins and outs of this company. When we had our opening bargaining session, we learned that the management side had less than 10 years experience at the company, combined.”
Torres says that after the members rejected the company’s first offer, “we gave them one more chance to sweeten the deal with a two-hour zoom negotiating session. At the end of that session, we had a recommended offer. The members ratified the contract in May.