The Kellogg Co. and more than 1,400 striking cereal workers will return to the bargaining table next week to resume contract negotiations.
Contract talks with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) will resume on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3, dates that were agreed upon by both parties, Kellogg's confirmed Tuesday.
It's been roughly three weeks since hourly workers employed at plants in Omaha, Nebraska; Battle Creek, Michigan; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee, went on strike, ultimately threatening production of its iconic breakfast products.
The BCTGM members work in plants where Rice Krispies, Raisin Bran, Fruit Loops, Corn Flakes and Frosted Flakes are produced.
On Monday, the Michigan-based company sent a message to the BCTGM in an effort to persuade the union to resume talks.
"We have a responsibility to these employees — which is to engage in good faith bargaining toward a replacement agreement that gets them back to work," the company said in a statement Monday.
The cereal maker hinted that it might be willing to discuss proposals that would address its current two-tiered system that gives fewer benefits and less pay to newer workers, which has been a sticking point for the union. Kellogg’s didn’t elaborate in its statement, but noted that it would consider "proposals that would preserve a pathway for transitionals to legacy wages and benefits."
Dan Osborn, president of the union’s local chapter in Omaha, Nebraska, said that the union is ready to resume negotiations and that he wanted to get his people "back to work."
"I’m hoping we can get back to the table and get a contract," Osborn said.
Earlier this month, union employees were finally fed up after being at an impasse at the bargaining table for more than a year, according to Osborn.
The dispute involves an assortment of pay and benefits issues such as the holiday and vacation pay, loss of premium health care and reduced retirement benefits.
"Kellogg’s response to these loyal, hardworking employees has been to demand these workers give up quality health care, retirement benefits, and holiday and vacation pay," Anthony Shelton, president of BCTGM, previously said.
However, a Kellogg Co. spokesperson argued that its proposals "have been grossly misrepresented by the Union in statements to their membership and to media" and that it wants "employees to have all the information they need to make informed decisions for themselves and their families."
Kellogg's has said that its "number one priority is to get back to the negotiations table and reach a contract" and it has been forced to continue "operations with other resources" to try and mitigate any supply disruptions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report