In an October 30th Kellogg Company communication, the company reports the hiring of Edward Thompson as its new Vice President, Global Labor Relations. Thompson will oversee Kellogg’s Center for Excellence and its initiatives, which is “…to further improve our labor and employee relationships around the world,” the company states.
“It is our hope that the treatment of the Memphis locked out employees is one of Thompson’s first priorities,” said BCTGM International President David B. Durkee. BCTGM Local 252G members have been locked out of the Kellogg cereal plant in Memphis, Tenn. since October 22nd.
“We will see if this new improved focus on labor and employee relations actually considers the unnecessary lock out of these highly experienced and productive employees — workers who have an average service time of 20 years of dedicated service with Kellogg and nearly 40 percent who have worked at the plant for more than three decades. It’s one thing to promote progressive labor relations on paper, and it is another thing to apply it in real life in Memphis with a workforce that has given so much to this employer.
“If Kellogg intends to sincerely address an improvement of its labor and employee relations, it would put workers at the Memphis facility back to work and negotiate in good faith as the process is intended,” said Durkee. “Kellogg is the market leader in ready-to-eat cereal in North America and as an industry leader, it should also set an industry-wide example as to what constitutes fair treatment of its employees who have been a tremendous part of its success.
“Kellogg’s recent announcement of cuts in personnel worldwide while increasing profits is yet another example of where the company’s priorities actually lie. The creation of the Kellogg ‘Center of Excellence’ and its intent to improve employee and labor relations runs contrary to the company’s actual employee relations practices on the ground.
“The Memphis lockout of more than 200 BCTGM members and their families is a prime example of this corporate duplicity. If Kellogg is sincere about a renewed emphasis on improving employee and labor relations, it can start with an on-the-ground common sense effort in Memphis that exhibits fair treatment of those who have made this company a very profitable producer of high quality products— the hourly employees. We will see.”
The BCTGM represents more than 4,000 Kellogg employees throughout North America. The BCTGM also represents thousands more workers in the cereal industry at such companies as General Mills, Quaker Oats, and Ralcorp among others.