I grew up in Kalamazoo. One of the highlights of school trips was a trip to Kellogg's. Early school trips featured ice cream topped with Froot Loops. Now, I'm not sure if they even do school tours any longer. They've certainly lost the spirit of their founder. The Kellogg name appears on so many things in that area of Michigan and, for many years (most of my life) it was indicative of quality and caring. W.K. Kellogg must be spinning in his grave at the injustices perpetrated by Kellogg's current management.

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This is why Unions are critically important to anchor and PROTECT our middle class WORKERS. Unions have been dying for years because of all the Republican maneuvers to break them. This has undermined our middle class to such an extent that it is literally disappearing. And what are we left with? More super, super rich corporations, shareholders and CEOs.

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If the account at the start of this article is correct, W. K. Kellogg had it right, and the current corporate incarnation of his company has it wrong. All wrong. But there is absolutely nothing new or different in that.

I was employed by GM as a skilled tradesman for 26 years and then, after GM spun off the bulk of its parts-making operations into a stand-alone company, continued on for another 7+ years at Delphi Corp. I left that company in early '06 to pursue a livelihood elsewhere after Delphi filed for bankruptcy in late '05. I knew there would be no opportunity to finish my "working days" there, and I was right. The shop in which I used to work has long been a 60-acre empty field, the lot where I used to park is now filled with wholesale used vehicles awaiting distribution to auctions and other resale outlets.

During the entirety of that time, I was a member of the U.A.W., and was involved in 2 strikes, one a very brief three days, the other, in '98, lasted nearly 2 months, and the plant at which I worked and another one across town were ground zero in that, with about 9,000 workers walking out in a "local" dispute as opposed to a nation-wide work stoppage.

So, I witnessed all that's going on over in Battle Creek quite some years ago, with the exception of the attempt to bust the union with - let's just call them what they are - scab workers. (No pejorative directed toward the individuals who will take those jobs; they have to make a living every bit as much as the union members who chose the picket line. My disdain is reserved solely for the top members of the company's management.) But I'll guarantee you that if the top management at GM had thought for one second that they could pull that off, they'd have gone for it in a heartbeat. It pretty much boiled down to "safety in numbers" on that count.

By the time '98 had rolled around, "whipsawing" (making individual local unions "compete" with each other for new corporate work by offering concessions on existing contracts) had become a pernicious and often used company tactic to increase profits. NAFTA was in full swing, head counts were steadily declining, and the threat was always there that if someone didn't give in, the work would just be outsourced (read: sent south of the border), and there likely wouldn't be any "new" work offered in the future. So, concessions were made again and again, both locally and at the national level, always with the "promise" that if that were done, profits would increase, things would get better, and the concessions the workers agreed to would eventually be recouped as a result. They were not. And two-tier wages were less than a decade in the offing.

Now, making cars and making corn flakes are two different things. But they are exactly the same in one important way. "Labor" is the soft underbelly of the manufacturing process in both these enterprises, the easiest and most accessible place from which to wring (and sustain) more profit.

Of course, there are areas of most any manufacturing processes that can be made more efficient, and thus more profitable, through technological means. But with few exceptions, anything involving a relatively large workforce will give the biggest bang for a buck's worth of effort at "optimizing profits" in taking another bite out of that belly, no matter how cleverly that bite may be represented as something else.

I've read about the grievances of the folks over in Battle Creek, and I don't blame them one bit for hittin' the bricks. At some point, one just has to stand up and say enough is enough. And in that last word lies the entirety of the problem, and the reason that there is nothing new here.

The word "enough" doesn't exist in very many boardrooms across this country where profit is concerned, if it exists in any at all. Those rooms are not filled with men (or women) like W. K. Kellogg. And that is why when given the choice of doing the right thing and making a very good, respectable and sustainable profit, or doing the wrong thing and making a much, much larger, sometimes bordering-on-the-obscene profit, the people in those boardrooms will choose the latter every single time.

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Candle company in KY night shift managers told workers they would be fired, lose their jobs if they left to go home after the tornado whistles blared.

Many did lose their jobs after the factory was blown away and tragically many lost their life as well as their job. Many are maimed.

This is what America is and will be worse as those 700 oligarch billionaires eek more influence through minority Republican rule.

Aww how I hate the 1%

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Thank you so much for filling in the history of the kind, wise, and generous practices that inspired the original Kellogg family. Their magnanimity is sadly unknown and unheard of today. The truth as currently unfolding grows increasingly worse. As usual, my heart hurts reading what's going on today. How can this reporting become more widely known?

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I haven’t eaten breakfast cereal for many years and when I did I mixed it with (often home made) granola. Which is not to say that Kellogg’s workers don’t deserve fair wages, whether in Michigan or offshore; nor to disagree w President Biden who rightly notes the importance of unions and collective bargaining rights in the US economy. But first I think those management wages need to be heavily taxed/redistributed to ensure adequate incomes for all who labor, whether their jobs “merit” unionization or even contribute to GDP (so, unpaid household workers, grandparents, disabled volunteers, etc). In the meantime, have some oatmeal!

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Thank you Judd...I did not know prior to reading this post. What a complete reversal from Kellogg's founder's intentions...I wonder if his heirs have put these atrocious actions into play.

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Well done!

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I knew there was a reason I preferred Post cereals these days...although they have their own labor issues. Unpaid-Labor Suit Against Post Stands (https://www.foodprocessing.com/industrynews/2021/unpaid-labor-suit-against-post-stands/)

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