How The Internet Gloriously Showed Up To Support Kellogg’s Strikers
Cereal brand Kellogg’s has landed itself in the centre of a backlash, and has been inundated with fake job applications from all over the world.
People are flooding the Kellogg’s site to stand in solidarity with striking workers after the company announced its plan to permanently replace them.
On October 5th, workers at Kellogg’s factories in the US started striking for better wages and working conditions as they neared the end of an existing five-year contract.
Two months on, and the workers union rejected Kellogg’s new proposal for a contract with a 3% pay increase.
Dan Osborne is the president of one of the local union branches who’s worked at Kellogg’s for 18 years and this is the first time he’s been on strike.
Instead of going back into negotiations, Kellogg’s said it would permanently replace workers who continued to strike.
But it wasn’t long until the internet got involved.
A Reddit post started getting a lot of attention after it asked people to flood the company’s job listing site to stand with the striking workers.
Why Is There A Kellogg’s Strike?
The whole showdown reportedly revolves around what’s called a ‘two-tier work system’, which workers say Kellogg’s is trying to implement at various plants.
These tiers are separated into ‘legacy’ and ‘transitional’ workers.
Transitional workers have lower rates and less benefits, but can move into the legacy system the longer they work at the company, and as existing legacy workers move on or retire.
The previous contract had a 30% cap on the proportion of transitional workers.
But the new contract would get rid of that cap, which led workers to believe Kellogg’s might leave all employees on that lower tier.
So, when Kellogg’s revealed that they were planning to replace the 1400 workers involved in the whole ordeal, people on Reddit caught wind of it and started carrying out their own plan.
Why Reddit Is Getting Involved
Within a day of Kellogg’s’ re-hiring plans, articles were posted onto the subreddit ‘r/antiwork’.
As the name kind of suggests, it’s a forum for those who are anti-work – either wanting to “end work”, or looking for information about how to do it.
It looks at the broader constructs of modern-day workplaces and the potential for corporate exploitation.
Which is why this story really struck a chord.
The subreddit essentially mobilised its members and launched a coordinated attack on Kellogg’s application site.
It asked users to pretend to be residents of cities where the strikes were happening, and provided zip codes and sample resumes.
The movement also spread to TikTok, where someone even developed a script to auto-complete applications, making it that much easier to flood the system.
US President Joe Biden even put out a statement condemning the company’s actions, calling it an existential attack on the union.
Australia has also had a big year of strikes, from teachers and transport workers to delivery drivers.
COVID has certainly added pressure to these industries, who are fighting similar battles for fair pay and working conditions.