Bernie Sanders hails Kellogg's strike for tackling US 'corporate greed'

Battle Creek (United States) (AFP) – Progressive US Senator Bernie Sanders on Friday cheered striking Kellogg's workers for standing up to "corporate greed."


Sanders, sporting his famous casual winter coat, saluted the employees at a rally while slamming the company -- known for its breakfast cereals -- for saying it will replace workers who walked off the job in a bid for better pay.

"Let me say to Kellogg's: you don't treat people who gave their lives to your company by threatening them with permanent replacements" and introducing "a two tier system which lowers wages for incoming workers," Sanders told the cheering workers.

The strike began October 5 at Kellogg's cereal plants in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nebraska and Tennessee.

The company last week announced it would replace the workers who walked off the job after members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) rejected a contract offer.

At the time Kellogg's said while it preferred a negotiated solution, it had an "obligation" to customers to continue production.

The company on Thursday said it had reached another tentative agreement with the union representing 1,400 workers, which it said improves pay for all workers and provides cost of living increases.

Workers are due to vote Monday and results will be known early next week, the company said in a statement.

Among other grievances, the workers objected to the company's two-tiered wage structure.

"I'm standing here today because you have had the incredible courage right here to take on corporate greed and all over this country working people are looking at you and they're saying thank you for your courage," Sanders said

"What's going on in this country today is a disgrace. What we are seeing is massive levels of income and wealth inequality."

The liberal senator frequently rails against corporations that reap huge profits and pay executives millions of dollars in salaries and benefits while worker pay has remained stagnant for four decades, and many firms move jobs overseas.

His Twitter feed posted a picture of Sanders made to look like a Kellogg's Frosted Flakes cereal box, replacing Tony the Tiger's trademark tag line "They're gr-r-reat!" with "Let's end Kellogg's Gr-r-eed!"

"If you love America, you love the workers," Sanders said at the rally. "And if you love American workers, you don't shift their jobs to desperate people in Mexico and pay them 90 cents an hour."

President Joe Biden also criticized the company's decision and called for them to settle the grievances through negotiations and "free from threats and intimidation from employers."