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Kellogg's Memphis plant enters week three of strike

The strike came after the union says negotiations for a new national-level contract were unsuccessful

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Kellogg's employees are starting the third week of their strike Tuesday morning.

The BCTGM union says its fighting a two-tiered pay system that would mean lower pay and worse benefits for new workers. At Memphis' plant, the strike impacts nearly 300 employees.

Kellogg's reported a $380 million profit in the latest quarter.

Despite entering week three of the strike, Memphis' Union President Robert Eafen says morale is high for workers as efforts to reach a deal continue.

However, Eafen said he doesn't believe progress has been made between the union and Kellogg.

The strike continues as other strikes begin to build across the country, including John Deere.

“Corporate America may look at it as if its an epidemic, the small person fighting back, the working class fighting back," Eafen said. “The working class, they’re tired. They’re tired of corporate greed. We take less while they take more and again, that’s over. That day is over.”

In Kellogg's most recent statement update, it said the union hasn't responded with dates to return to the negotiation table.

The union appears unwilling to resume negotiations unless Kellogg first agrees to provide 100% free healthcare and pension benefits to employees who do not currently receive those benefits," the statement reads. "The union agreed in 2015 to a more current, market-based health and retirement plan. Now they want to go back on that deal."

Eafen said it's true that the 2015 deal was agreed on but he said the union was pressured into taking it after the Memphis plant was locked out in 2013 for ten months.

“It was a lesson for the other plants more or less to get in line," he said. "Ten months without wages. Ten months without benefits. Then they threw a $15,000 bonus in there, heavily taxed just to go ahead and make us feel better for caving in. We’re done caving in. We’re here to fight.”

Eafen said the union will continue it's strike as long as needed. He believes the pandemic has put workers in a better position to stand up.

"The working man is tired and we’re going to demand better wages and benefits for our families," he said.