MorningStar Farms plant workers reject union deal


Workers at Kellogg’s MorningStar Farms’ plant in Zanesville, Ohio voted down a proposal to unionize, Bloomberg Law reported.

The total was 141 to 82 against unionizing, according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) tally.

MorningStar Farms’ employees proposed a unionization effort in July after saying publicly they were overworked. The workers listed fighting mandatory overtime and high insurance costs as their top priorities. The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco, and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) filed a petition with the NLRB asking for representation in July.

In an emailed statement, Kellogg spokesperson Kris Bahner said the company “always respects employees’ right to choose whether to join a union. We’re glad employees in Zanesville were able to have their voices heard, and leadership will keep working directly with employees to build a bright future for all.”

The BCTGM did not respond to Food Dive’s request for comment.

Kellogg CEO Steve Cahillane told analysts in August that the cereal and snack company was opposed to the union push and planned to work with its employees on a solution.

For Kellogg, it’s a favorable outcome compared to the labor situation it faced in 2021 with its cereal operations.

The maker of Froot Loops and Frosted Flakes was hit with an 11-week strike at four factories involving 1,400 workers. Despite the company reaching a deal that included more benefits for lower-tier employees, the strike upended Kellogg’s cereal operations. It caused the CPG giant to lose market share in the category to rivals General Mills and Post, hampering its already tight supply.

The unionization vote comes as Kellogg moves forward with a plan to split into three companies that would leave MorningStar as a standalone business. Cahillane told Food Dive in June that the plant-based company is a “prized asset.”

While the entire plant-based category is facing a growth slump, MorningStar Farms has been hit especially hard. Sales dropped 10% in the first half of 2022, which Kellogg attributed to a supply disruption with a co-manufacturer. Still, plant-based foods remain a strong one for Kellogg. The profitable segment posted roughly $340 million in net sales last year.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a comment from Kellogg.

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