Bi-Co SDS acts in solidarity with Kellogg strikers
Lancaster, PA – On Friday, October 29, the Haverford/Bryn Mawr, or Bi-Co, Chapter of Students for a Democratic Society drove to Lancaster in solidarity with striking Kellogg’s workers. SDS had coordinated a canned food drive in the week leading up to the event and dropped these goods off at the local BCTGM 374-G (Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union) Union Hall.
Students spoke with the local president and vice president of the union, who, despite being in the fourth week of the strike, were filled with vitality and prepared to negotiate with Kellogg’s on the upcoming Tuesday, November 2.
Kellogg’s workers have been picketing 24/7, taking on four-hour shifts throughout the day in front of the entrance to the Kellogg’s plant.
Despite the grueling nature of this strike, it barely compares to conditions Kellogg’s workers have been forced to endure: 12-hour shifts, six days a week, and unequal pay for part-time employees. This third point is especially important, as many of the striking workers, who have been at Kellogg’s for decades, expressed that they were doing this for the younger generation, who are paid as much as $12-per-hour less than their counterparts.
After dropping off the food at the union hall, Bi-Co SDS went down to the Kellogg’s plant to talk with striking workers and get a feeling of things on the ground. Workers were in good spirits and felt optimistic about the upcoming negotiations in Washington, DC. Nearly every car that passed honked in solidarity, and workers described how they had received lots of high-profile visitors, including the U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman.
Kellogg's attempt to bring in scabs to break the strike had ended in failure. Apparently some of the scabs had gotten into a fight on the floor of the plant, resulting in the largest Kellogg’s plant in the U.S. being shut down the next day.
To students who support the strike and want to be in solidarity, the workers had a few things to say. First: only boycott Kellogg’s cereal products. Other Kellogg’s products are made by different workers who are not currently striking, so boycotting these products isn’t especially productive. Second: “Don’t forget the people on the ground. Don’t forget about the little guy.”
One worker said: “We’re the ones who keep everything going down here. Whatever you go on to do, don’t forget where you came from, don’t forget about the people who keep the whole thing running.”