Employees Strike at Kellogg and John Deere

Allen Smith, J.D. By Allen Smith, J.D. October 18, 2021
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workers striking

​Emboldened by the Great Resignation, thousands of workers are striking across the nation, including employees at Kellogg, John Deere and health care organizations. We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other media outlets.

More than 100 Strikes This Year

There have been strikes against 178 employers this year, according to a tracker by Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which records only large work stoppages, has recorded 12 strikes involving 1,000 or more workers so far this year. That's higher than in 2020 but in line with strike activity in 2018 and 2019. Unions have new leverage due to the Great Resignation, according to union officials and economists.

(The Washington Post)

Pay and Benefits Contested at Kellogg

At the Kellogg Co., 1,400 strikers oppose the loss of premium health care and holiday and vacation pay, as well as reduced retirement benefits. They also oppose the outsourcing of jobs to Mexico. The company says its contract offer is fair and would increase wages and benefits for its employees, who it said made an average of $120,000 annually last year. "We are disappointed by the union's decision to strike," a company spokesperson said. "Kellogg provides compensation and benefits for our U.S. ready-to-eat-cereal employees that are among the industry's best."

(AP via NPR)

Workers Strike at John Deere

More than 10,000 workers who are located at 14 John Deere sites went on strike Oct. 14. John Deere offered raises of 5 percent to 6 percent, but union officials said the proposed contract didn't meet workers' retirement and wage goals. A company spokeswoman said the company is committed to reaching a favorable outcome, one that would "put every employee in a better economic position and continue to make them the highest-paid employees in the agriculture and construction industries."

(The Washington Post)

Strikers at Hospital Seek More Staffing

Strikers at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y., are seeking better wages and working conditions, along with more staffing—the union's No. 1 priority. Officials at Catholic Health, which operates the hospital, said they are still bargaining with the union.

(NBC2 WGRZ)

[SHRM members-only HR Q&A: Are all types of strikes protected under the National Labor Relations Act?]

Kaiser Permanente Workers Threaten Strike

More than 24,000 health care workers at Kaiser Permanente in California and Oregon authorized a strike, their unions announced Oct. 11, threatening a work stoppage over pay and work conditions. The employees are urging the company to do away with plans for a two-tiered wage and benefits system, which would pay new workers less than colleagues with more seniority and offer new employees fewer health protections. The workers also want 4 percent raises for the next three years and a commitment to hire more nurses. Union and company leaders expressed hope that a resolution could be found at the bargaining table, but union officials said the sides remain divided on key issues.

(The Washington Post)

Strike Averted on TV and Film Production

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which represents 60,000 film and television workers, announced an agreement had been reached on Oct. 16 to avoid a strike in Hollywood. Negotiations involved disagreements over demands for higher pay; improvements to on-set conditions, such as longer rest and meal breaks; and larger contributions to health and pension benefits. The union said the deal includes "a living wage for the lowest-paid earners" as well as "retroactive wage increases of 3 percent annually."

(CNN)

Nabisco Strike Resolved

Unionized workers for Mondelēz International, which owns Nabisco, went on strike this past summer over proposed changes in shift lengths and overtime rules. Mondelēz said the new four-year contract reached between the company and union, announced Sept. 18, includes "hourly wage increases each year of the contract, increased company match to 401(k) contributions and updates to certain workplace policies." In a statement following the resolution of the strike, Glen Walter, an executive vice president of North America for Mondelēz, said, "Our goal has always been to reach agreements that would provide our union-represented colleagues with good wages and competitive benefits, while also positioning our U.S. bakeries and sales distribution facilities for future growth and success."

(SHRM Online) and (The New York Times)

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