Biden says he is 'deeply troubled' by Kellogg’s plan to permanently replace striking workers

Biden's statement comes after Kellogg's posted permanent job listings to replace striking workers

President Biden took aim at Kellogg Co., saying he is "deeply troubled" by the company's plans to permanently replace striking workers.

"Permanently replacing striking workers is an existential attack on the union and its members’ jobs and livelihoods," Biden said in a statement Friday. "And such action undermines the critical role collective bargaining plays in providing workers a voice and the opportunity to improve their lives while contributing fully to their employer’s success."

Joe Biden

President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP Photo/Evan Vucci / AP Newsroom)


Biden's statement comes after Kellogg's posted permanent job listings to replace striking workers in its four cereal plants after a union vote rejected a proposed contract, continuing what has already been a two-month strike.

The company and the union came to a tentative agreement on the contract in a bid to end the strike, but union workers "overwhelmingly" rejected that agreement last week. The rejected offer contained a 3% pay raise and hikes in benefits.

First shift worker Travis Huffman joins other BCTGM Local 3G union members in a strike against Kellogg Co. at the Kellogg's plant on Porter Street in Battle Creek, Michigan, U.S., October 5, 2021. (Alyssa Keown/Battle Creek Enquirer/USA Today Network via REUTERS    / Reuters Photos)

"The members have spoken. The strike continues," the union said on Tuesday. "The International Union will continue to provide full support to our striking Kellogg’s members."

Kellogg's has in the meantime used salaried employees and third-party workers to fill in for the union workers, but now says it has "no choice but to hire permanent replacement employees in positions vacated by striking workers."

"The tentative agreement was a fully negotiated deal between Kellogg and the union, and contained no concessions or takeaways — only increases in wages and benefits," company spokesperson Kris Bahner said Friday. "We are very disappointed that it was ultimately rejected. We have an obligation to our customers and consumers to continue to provide the cereals that they know and love — as well as to the thousands of people we employ."


BATTLE CREEK, MI - OCTOBER 07: Kellogg's Cereal plant workers demonstrate in front of the plant on October 7, 2021 in Battle Creek, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images / Getty Images)

But Biden took the side of the striking workers, calling the move to hire permanent replacements "intimidation."

"I am deeply troubled by reports of Kellogg’s plans to permanently replace striking workers from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International during their ongoing collective bargaining negotiations," Biden said. "Collective bargaining is an essential tool to protect the rights of workers that should be free from threats and intimidation from employers."