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Kellogg on pending Memphis litigation: We want to settle

By Kacey Culliney+

30-Apr-2014
Last updated on 30-Apr-2014 at 12:15 GMT

Kellogg believes that 'serious settlement discussions' are appropriate with respect to this pending litigation
Kellogg believes that 'serious settlement discussions' are appropriate with respect to this pending litigation

Kellogg hopes to settle the Memphis lockout dispute with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco and Grain Millers (BCTGM) union ahead of litigation.

Last month, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a complaint against Kellogg following an investigation into the Memphis lockout and a hearing before the NLRB’s administrative judge is set for next week: May 5, 2014.

However, Kellogg said the matter should be settled ahead of the hearing.

The company’s vice president of communications, Kris Charles, told BakeryandSnacks.com: “Kellogg believes that serious settlement discussions are appropriate with respect to this pending litigation.”

Kellogg: We want to settle ahead of litigation

The company had reached out to both the union and the NLRB to “engage in a formal settlement discussion process”, she said.

“We have been in contact with the union through our respective attorneys, via phone and written correspondence. Kellogg would have preferred to meet the BCTGM union across the bargaining table than across a courtroom.”

However, Charles added that the company was “prepared to meet this legal challenge” if there was no settlement ahead of the hearing next week.

Kellogg remained confident on its stance, she said. “Kellogg is confident in its position that all of our proposals for a new contract at our Memphis cereal plant are absolutely appropriate for these supplemental negotiations.”

However, the BCTGM has made its stance very clear during the dispute - that it was a matter for litigation, not the bargaining table. 

Human rights risk assessment won’t happen

Asked about the BCTGM’s most recent focus – it filed a proposal to Kellogg shareholders calling for a human rights risk assessment of the company – Charles said that this would not happen.

She said the proposal was “unnecessary” given Kellogg’s commitments to an ethical supply chain. It could also “potentially divert company resources with no corresponding benefit to Kellogg, our customers or our shareowners”, she said.

The majority of shareowners agreed, she said, and so the proposal to prepare a human rights report was defeated.

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