Kellogg's employees get into Thanksgiving spirit - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Kellogg's employees get into Thanksgiving spirit

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Thanksgiving came early for some Memphis Kellogg's employees. 

Nearly 220 of them have been off the job for almost a month now, locked out over a contract dispute. But on Tuesday employees from an out-of-state Kellogg's plant came to the Bluff City to spread some holiday cheer. 

Kellogg's employees from around the country, including Nebraska, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, collected enough money to send a Thanksgiving turkey to every single locked out employee in Memphis.     

MORE: Prayer vigil for locked out Kellogg's employees
MORE: Kellogg's locks out Memphis employees over labor dispute

Several workers from Battle Creek, Mich., drove 11 hours to get those turkeys to the Bluff City in time for the holiday and to show their support for employees who've been out of work and a regular paycheck for weeks.       

Sandy Selby and Heather Greene spent their day handing out more than 200 turkeys to people they consider to be family.  

"It makes us feel really good to be able to do something for them when they need it," Selby said. "It's to support our fellow union brothers and sisters in this. We work at Kellogg's in Battle Creek and it's just real sad to see them do something like this at this time of year." 

They're helping out fellow employees like Tara Anderson, who've been without a steady paycheck since October.

"It's a little hard, but we have a lot of support out here, and we're just sticking together so that's how we're making it," Anderson said. 

Anderson and about 220 coworkers have been locked out of this Kellogg's plant since Oct. 22.  

Kellogg's representatives said they met with the union more than a dozen times and have yet to agree on a new contract.       

But union leaders say the dispute is over a company plan to cut hours, making employees part time and possibly losing benefits. 

"It's a fight that needs to be fought," BCTGM Local 252G President Kevin Bradshaw said. "We hope to have a ruling some time or later from the National Labor Relations Board, and we're just waiting, be patient on that." 

Until then, it's a waiting game. But employees say they have a little support from Battle Creek and beyond to weather the storm. 

"It's hard not to cry, it's very moving, it's very powerful," Greene said. "It's just wonderful to shake their hand, give them a hug, let them know we're with them." 

"That gives us hope, it gives us hope and support that we're going to get through this," Anderson added. 

Parent company Kellogg announced what they call "weaker than expected' sales for last quarter, about $326 million. They've already cut about 70 jobs from the Memphis plant this year.

Kris Charles, Kellogg Company spokesperson says, "Kellogg's proposed contract to the BCTGM Local 252G in Memphis does not impact current employees' wages and benefits, and would provide above-market wages for any future hires who would also be full-time - not part time - employees."

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