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Redditors are spamming Kellogg's job portal in solidarity with its striking workers

Kellogg's Cereal plant workers demonstrate in front of the Kellogg's Cereal Plant on Oct. 7, 2021 in Battle Creek, Mich. Workers at Kellogg's cereal plants are striking over the loss of premium health care, holiday and vacation pay, and reduced retirement benefits.
Rey Del Rio
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Kellogg's Cereal plant workers demonstrate in front of the Kellogg's Cereal Plant on Oct. 7, 2021 in Battle Creek, Mich. Workers at Kellogg's cereal plants are striking over the loss of premium health care, holiday and vacation pay, and reduced retirement benefits.

Reddit users are flooding the Kellogg Company's job portal with fake applications after the company recently announced it will replace its striking union workers with new permanent employees. The spammers say they stand in solidarity with the strikers.

In a Reddit post in the r/antiwork subreddit, one user by the name of 'BloominFunions' listed the job portal sites for the four hiring plants, encouraging users to apply for the listings in hopes of clogging the system with fabricated applications.

As of Friday, the Reddit post has been upvoted more than 62,000 times.

"It's time to clog their toilet of an application pipeline," the user wrote. "This is your chance to apply for your 'dream' job."

In descriptions of the job listings posted, Kellogg specifically notes that prospective workers would be hired to fill positions from employees on strike.

"The Unions representing Kellogg employees in these plants are on strike, and we are looking for employees to permanently replace them, joining hundreds of Kellogg salaried employees, hourly employees, and contractors to keep the lines running," the listing states.

NPR reached out to Kellogg for comment. Kris Bahner, a spokesperson for the company, told NPR in an emailed statement the company made every effort to reach a "fair agreement" — including making six comprehensive offers to the union throughout negotiations.

"We are very disappointed that [the agreement] was ultimately rejected," Bahner continued. "Because we have an obligation to our customers and consumers to continue to provide the cereals that they know and love ...we are hiring permanent replacement employees in positions vacated by striking workers, as is permitted by law."

Kellogg workers walked off the job on Oct. 5 at four plants — in Battle Creek, Mich.; Lancaster, Pa.; Memphis, Tenn. and Omaha, Neb. — after the company and the union did not reach an agreement on the terms of a new contract after the previous one expired.

The workers' union says Kellogg threatened to send jobs to Mexico. But in an Oct. 12 update, company officials denied the claim.

The Kellogg Company has a two-tiered wage system, which some companies tout as a way to save money. In general, under a two-tier system, established workers keep the pay or retirement benefits they're used to, while newer employees get less money and/or benefits.

Union members argue the proposed two-tiered wage system will take away power from the union by removing the limit on the number of lower-tiered employees, according to Reuters.

In the tentative five-year agreement announced last week, the changes would have brought both a 3% wage hike for longtime "legacy" employees as well as increases for newer, "transitional" workers and new hires, based on how many years they put in with the company.

The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, which represents the 1,400 striking employees, said in a statement earlier this week that it will continue to provide "full support to our striking Kellogg's members."

President Joe Biden commented on the strike against Kellogg, saying he is "deeply troubled" by the company's plans to hire permanent replacements for workers on strike.

"Permanently replacing striking workers is an existential attack on the union and its members' jobs and livelihoods. I strongly support legislation that would ban that practice," Biden said in a tweet.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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