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Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks to a child during a December 17, 2021 rally in support of striking Kellogg's workers in Battle Creek, Michigan. (Photo: @fshakir/Twitter)

'Give Workers a Fair Shake,' Sanders Implores CEOs in Speech to Kellogg's Strikers

"Our message to corporate America today is stop the corporate greed, start worrying about your workers and not just your CEOs, stop outsourcing our jobs, and create an economy that works for all of us and not just the few."

Brett Wilkins

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday addressed a Michigan rally of striking Kellogg's union workers and their supporters, calling on all corporate CEOs to "create an economy that works for all" and reading a letter of solidarity from President Joe Biden, who implored the strikers to "keep the faith."

"Working people in this country want dignity, they want respect, they want to be able to raise their families with a decent middle-class income, and they don't want to work 100 days in a row."

"All over this country, working people are looking at you and they are saying thank you for your courage," Sanders (I-Vt.) told the workers, who have been on strike over pay, benefits, and working conditions since October 5. "You're sending a message; not just to Kellogg's, but to every corporate CEO in this country. And what we are saying is that in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, you have to give workers a fair shake."

"Working people in this country want dignity, they want respect, they want to be able to raise their families with a decent middle-class income, and they don't want to work 100 days in a row," the two-time democratic socialist presidential candidate continued. "Our message to corporate America today is stop the corporate greed, start worrying about your workers and not just your CEOs, stop outsourcing our jobs, and create an economy that works for all of us and not just the few."

The Battle Creek rally was organized by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers (BCTGM) International Local 3-G union, which represents 325 workers at the Kellogg's cereal plant. The Battle Creek Enquirer reports BCTGM workers are also on strike in Kellogg's plants in Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. 

In a Friday opinion piece, Sanders called Kellogg's "the poster child for the culture of corporate greed."

He wrote:

Last year, Kellogg's made over $1.4 billion in profits. It paid its CEO, Steven Cahillane, nearly $12 million in total compensation, a significant increase over recent years. One of the reasons that Kellogg's had such a profitable year during this pandemic was the extraordinary sacrifices made by their employees who, in significantly understaffed factories, were asked to work an insane number of hours.

At the Kellogg's plant in Battle Creek, Michigan for example, when the pandemic began, many employees worked more than 50 days in a row—often 12-hour days... In fact, I spoke with one employee there who worked 120 days in a row.

Sanders read the demonstrators a letter written by Biden in which the president called the union workers "the backbone of America."

"Your right to bargain collectively is an essential tool that protects your livelihoods, contributes to your companies' success, and ensures our economy works for working people," Biden wrote. "You have persevered through this pandemic and challenging economic times. Through it all, you have continued to fight for the dignity and respect you and workers across this nation deserve."

"My message to you," said Biden, "is keep the faith."


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