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Taking advantage of Covid-19 pandemic, US food workers go on strike

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this AFP file photo taken on June 4, 2021, a worker unloads food in the Queens borough of New York City.

Workers of a food production company are taking industrial action to protest their low pay and benefits during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 1,400 workers at Kellogg Co.’s US cereal plants walked off their jobs as negotiations with the company stalled in order to join other strikes already underway in the food sector elsewhere in the country.

“We’re drawing a line in the sand,” said Rob Long, a production mechanic who has worked at Kellogg’s Omaha plant for 11 years as cited in a report by ABC News.

Over 400 workers went on a strike against Heaven Hill Distillery last month joining 600 workers taking a similar action at a Frito-Lay plant in Topeka, Kansas, and 1,000 workers at five Nabisco plants across the US earlier this summer.

According to Patricia Campos-Medina, the executive director of The Worker Institute at ILR Cornell, “Workers in general are demanding that companies invest more in the workforce and not just use the profits for the shareholders.”

The pandemic-weary workers appear to have no pathway but go on a strike in order to achieve what is their right.

“We are disappointed by the union’s decision to strike,” said Kris Bahner, Kellogg’s senior vice president for global corporate affairs.

Kellogg began negotiating a new four-year contract on Sept. 8 but the workers insist that their demands are not met in those contracts.

Therefore, workers in the food chamber are taking advantage of Covid-19 pandemic to make sure that could enjoy enough pay and benefits.

This is while food companies such as Kellogg have difficulties finding replacements for food-production workers during labor shortages caused by the pandemic.


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