search btn

Photo By: 
Reuters

"Pissing in Your Cornflakes"

Kellogg's says they will replace striking workers, here's what happened the last time they tried it

Brian Young's picture
Nov 29, 2021

Last week, Kellogg announced that they would begin to hire full-time scabs to replace the union workforce that has been on strike for two months. While Kellogg’s might hope that this will bring with it an increase in production and a decrease in costs, history shows that they might be setting themselves up to destroy their brand.

The last time Kellogg’s brought in scabs to replace union workers was when the company locked out 200 union members at their Memphis plant from October 2013 until August of 2014. During that period of time, one of the biggest scandals to hit the company occurred when a scab, later identified as Gregory Stanton, filmed himself urinating on the assembly line. The video, which was not released until 2016, showed Stanton urinating directly onto an assembly line, then panning to a sign with the Kellogg logo. Another video that was filmed about a month prior also showed Stanton urinating into a bucket and then dumping the contents of the bucket onto the Raisin Bran production line. A Kellogg investigation found that the video was made in 2014 meaning that the contaminated cereal was likely put into circulation and was consumed by customers.

Once the video was released in 2016, Kellogg’s released a statement claiming that the incident did not pose a public health risk. The company said, “While this behavior was disgusting and criminal, this type of situation is a food-quality issue and does not present a food safety risk.” After the incident, the FDA opened a criminal investigation into the act and Stanton pleaded guilty to tampering with consumer products with the intent to cause serious injury to the business of any person. He was sentenced to 10 months in prison and ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution.

In an interview with UCOMM Live, BCTGM Local 3G President Trevor Bidelman brought up this story of a scab pissing in consumers' Cornflakes, to explain the union difference and their commitment to producing a quality product. He also said this is why the union is fighting so hard to preserve the union bug on the boxes of Kellogg’s products. “To have that logo removed, that’s a safety thing for the public,” said Bidelman. He went on to say that when you see that logo it means that the product was made by union workers who ensure the highest quality product they can make, but when that logo is not there, you don’t know what went into or who pissed on your cereal.

According to the union, Kellogg’s is using the same scab staffing company that they used during the lockout, AFIMAC, to staff their plants.

While talks of hiring scabs full-time continue, the members spent their Thanksgiving continuing to walk the picket line. With talks seemingly broken down, this may also mean that the BCTGM members will spend Christmas on the picket line. For the members, that means no gifts for their children and no big Christmas dinner for the family. Strike funds have been set up to keep the workers going, please click here and donate.

Some labor groups have also begun collecting gifts for the members' kids. For example, in Nebraska, the state AFL-CIO is hosting a gift card drive so that they can provide $50 gift cards to the children whose parents are on strike.

Sign up for our e-Newsletter!