I remained hopeful that this situation would resolve soon for many days, but as these days turned to weeks, and these weeks to months, I am starting to wonder why nobody is listening to my plea. It hurts to be ignored.
—Kara Butterfield, 15, daughter of Jeff Butterfield, Local 252G locked out Kellogg worker
This morning outside the W.K. Kellogg Foundation headquarters in Battle Creek, Mich., BCTGM Local 252G members illegally locked out by Kellogg in Memphis, Tenn., held a press event to announce a grant application being formally submitted to the Foundation on behalf of the workers’ families.
The $15 million grant request to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is to assist workers and their families who have been locked out since October 22, 2013. The foundation owns about 22 percent of Kellogg’s total shares outstanding, making it the company’s largest share owner.
The estimated $15 million is to cover the cost to the 226 locked out members and their families for wages, benefits, and health insurance lost in the first 184 days of the lockout.
Local 252G President Kevin Bradshaw explained the intention of the grant request to the press saying, “This grant is for the children of the Memphis lockout, who are the innocent victims of this misguided iron-fisted, profit-at-all-costs, global plan Kellogg calls ‘Project K.’”
Bradshaw further described the impact of the lockout on the Memphis cereal workers and their families. “For six long painful months, Memphis families have endured foreclosure notices on their homes, repossession of vehicles, delayed medical procedures, depleted savings, children taken out of schools, children with disabilities whose parents are desperately trying to cobble together ongoing care by whatever means possible, the hounding of bill collectors and the toll on family relationships that surpasses any monetary worth.
“Sadly, to date, this Foundation and its leadership have been noticeably silent about the direction of this company as it tramples over every inch of its purported values and mission. We, the locked out families of Memphis, want the Kellogg Foundation to know that their silence has been an answer to this ongoing travesty and that silence has spoken volumes about the true commitment of this foundation to the legacy of W.K.Kellogg,” said Bradshaw.
Following Bradshaw’s comments, children of locked out Local 252G members distributed a booklet containing personal stories of how the lockout has hurt their families. Written by 18 kids of locked out Kellogg workers, the booklet is entitled, “In Our Own Words.”
At the conclusion of the event, BCTGM International President David Durkee, International Secretary Treasurer Steve Bertelli, and more than 20 locked out Kellogg workers attempted to visit members of the W.K. Foundation to further discuss the illegal lockout, but were turned away.