(WMC-TV) - After weeks at the bargaining table, the Kellogg Company made good on its threat to lock out Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers' International Union workers (BCTGM) at its Memphis plant Tuesday morning.
Kellogg locked out 226 employees after labor negotiations failed. The company has been restructuring the plant in recent months and several jobs have been eliminated.
The union says Kellogg has failed to protect the wages and benefits of current employees and has no plan to offer above-market wages for future hires.
Kellogg says the company is committed to negotiating a fair and competitive contract with the BCTGM that "recognizes the important work of our employees and helps to ensure the long-term success of our Memphis plant and the company."
The supplemental contract between Kellogg and the BCTGM Union in Memphis expired at 12:01 a.m., Sunday.
At that time, Kellogg gave employees a 48-hour lockout notice. The lockout went into effect 7 a.m., Tuesday.
"At 7 a.m., we were told if we didn't accept the company's last and best offer, that [they] would lock us out," said BCTGM Memphis president Kevin Bradshaw.
Company restructuring ended with several workers let go in recent months. The issue is that workers do not want Kellogg's to bring in temps.
"It would create a lot or unruly and unwarranted tension between employees," said Bradshaw.
The plant, that makes Apple Jacks, Corn Flakes, Fruit Loops and Frosted Flakes, has been out of production since October 7. Workers do not anticipate the plant will close like Hostess, after their strike.
Kellogg's is doing well.
"They bought Pringles for $2.8 billion cash. This is just corporate greed," said Bradshaw.
Meanwhile, the locked out workers are holding signs that say, "We want to work." They are also filing for unemployment. The workers say they will be outside the factory in shifts until the dispute is resolved.
The local plant had no comment. Kellogg's website says the company is "committed to negotiating a fair and competitive contract with the BCTGM."
The same scenario is about to play out in three other U.S. cities.
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