0019 - Striketober

There are so many strikes going on right now, and so many people claiming workers are "lazy" or "entitled". Clearly those people can go fuck themselves, but we have gathered some info and sources explained why the can. Sqeaky and Mako also took a stroll down to the Omaha Kellogg's plant to interview the workers on strike and took a dive deep into the claims being made on both sides and try to tease out as can be known. Listen online at: https://dysevidentia.transistor.fm/episodes/0019-striketober or watch on Youtube at: https://youtu.be/dYFRo7M_VpM Check out our sponsor for a custom computer, use code evidence for 10% off: https://abk-kustomz.com

*Guitar riff*

MAKO: Warning. This show contains adult themes and language including people volunteering for mandatory labor.

SQEAKY: Dysevidentia is an inability to reliably process evidence and this is a podcast all about it.

MAKO: This episode was released on October 27th, 2021, and we're discussing dysevidentia because it is clear millions of scabs are suffering from it.

SQEAKY: I am Sqeaky.

MAKO: And I am Mako.

SQEAKY: We discuss logic and evidence because otherwise all we have are corporate fact sheets.

MAKO: You can support us by becoming a patron and patreon.com/dysevidentia.

SQEAKY: If your job was recently exported by your boss, you can still help by liking, subscribing, and leaving a review.

MAKO: If you have a paper you have written or a small business to plug let us know.

SQEAKY: No rant today, straight on to the COVID minute.

*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: We're still recording. I have the control now, mwahahahahahaha.


SQEAKY: It's still recording. I thought I stopped it in the middle. I guess I don't have full control.

MAKO: Wow I should have totally completely my agonized scream.

SQEAKY: I can stab you again.

MAKO: Again?

SQEAKY: Oh. You didn't realize you're bleeding?

*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: So, what's new in COVID news? There's gotta be a better way to phrase that. But you know what I mean!

MAKO: A little bit upbeat there.

SQEAKY: Well it's not like we're having a 9/11 every two days or anything.

MAKO: Or are we?

SQEAKY: Oh, damn.

MAKO: Well there's been talk of boosters recently, we've covered that the last few COVID minutes and there's- the FDA is solidifying plans and approvals for boosters. They've recently given that approval to the Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson boosters, and they've also greenlit the mixing and matching of the different kinds of vaccines. So there- They've concluded that there's no real ill effects by taking both the Pfizer vaccine and getting a Johnson & Johnson booster or the other way around, getting the Johnson & Johnson booster and then getting the Pfizer vaccine. In fact the article that we have clearly states that getting a Pfizer booster after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine increases antibodies by fifty fold.

SOURCE [02:17] NBC News on FDA of mix and match vaccines - https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/fda-oks-moderna-jj-boosters-mix-match-approach-rcna3191

SQEAKY: Yeah, I've heard a couple of different scientists talk about it on like different podcasts and different TV shows. Nobody's really sure why. People are putting out different reasons. The prevalent idea I'm hearing surface is that the vaccines work on slightly different mechanisms so when your body gets both mechanisms...

MAKO: You just have more coverage.

SQEAKY: Yeah, more or less.

MAKO: I mean, superficially that seems intuitive.

SQEAKY: It's like the difference between having crumple zones in a car or seat belts in a car or crumple zones and seat belts.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: This is old but I only recently learned about it. I heard about it in Body of Evidence episode seventy. They cited a paper from Lancet Psychiatry and I'll go and link both of those in the show notes, but the paper is discussing what they're describing as "Neuro-psychiatric Issues" as anything that happens inside your brain as a result of COVID. And they followed a bunch of people that had cases of COVID for six months to see who had strokes, hemorrhages, Parkinson-like effects... And there was a cat- There were like fifteen different categories of things they covered and something on the order of one in three people had some long term effect that was above and beyond the normally expected amount of neuro-psychiatric issues you would have expected. So from this we can infer that approximately one third of people who get COVID will get some sort of brain problem.

SOURCE [03:32] - Body of evidence 70 - https://bodyofevidence.ca/070-car-safety-and-the-astrazeneca-saga

SOURCE [03:32] - The Lancet Psychiatry on long term covid effects - https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(21)00084-5/fulltext

MAKO: That's a really large portion of the population.

SQEAKY: Well this lines up really well with the brain fog thing.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: If you have a mild stroke, y'know that could be brain fog. I'm no doctor but I think brains need blood to function.

MAKO: Oh... Last I checked, yes.

SQEAKY: It's kind of horrible and horrifying but this is part of why I've been very pro extra safety precautions because COVID is really dangerous and we're taking the long side effects seriously for the first time in a while after a pandemic. People kind of ignored it for uh... swine flu, and there was some interesting effects there but luckily that didn't affect millions and millions of people.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: One more thing on that. The incidence of these neuro-psychiatric issues --that just means any problem with the stuff inside your skull-- it was strongly correlated with how severe your case of COVID was.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: So there's not any good science out there yet saying that being vaccinated protects you from this, but there's reason to believe that if you're vaccinated you'll have a more mild case of COVID and therefore you'll be less likely to have problems.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: So, more reasons to get vaccinated. Prevent some strokes, maybe probably.

MAKO: Yeah. Each link in the chain has been verified in some way but the full chain has not.


MAKO: Kinda what you're saying.

SQEAKY: Exactly. And we have nothing saying that not being vaccinated is good.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Is there anything else on COVID?

MAKO: Well, I mean there are the numbers.

SQEAKY: Oh this is going to be happy and cheery.

MAKO: Oh yay. As of this recording, worldwide, 4,937,612 people have died to COVID. In the United States we finally crossed a three-quarters-of-a-million threshold, the exact number being 751,811.

SOURCE [05:09] - World Info Meters worldwide deaths - https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

SQEAKY: Yeah. I asked that we get these numbers in here. I didn't want to be super depressing but three-quarters-of-a-million Americans is a lot and currently we're leading in the ranks on World Info Meter for the amount of people dying.

MAKO: And we are entering flu season. Holidays, people are going to be getting together, delta is still rampant, I... I don't see... The course that we're going, I don't see how we don't avoid a million deaths.

SQEAKY: I don't see it either. Now this has slowed a lot with the vaccine being so prevalent. I believe some states are as high as seventy-one percent vaccinated.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: Which is really impressive. That number keeps going up. Uh, the doctors that talk about it are unsure where herd immunity really kicks in but nobody's throwing around numbers less than eighty or eighty-five percent.

MAKO: Eighty-five is the lowest I've heard and the highest I've heard is simply not possible.

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: That's... that's horrible.

MAKO: Like they felt there was a herd immunity threshold for alpha because of how infectious it was, but delta is just so much more infectious, there's some scientists that believe there is no herd immunity from it.

SQEAKY: So even if ninety-nine percent of people get vaccinated, that one percent will still come into contact often enough-

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: -that herd immunity just doesn't matter?

MAKO: That is what some people are saying, yes.

SQEAKY: That's deeply horrifying for people who are immune compromised.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: That means that any one jackass could just kill them.

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: Okay, yeah. On to something brighter. What's our main topic for the episode?

MAKO: Uh... current... labor situation. Sometimes referred to as "Striketober".

SQEAKY: Oh. Exploitative labor practices. So upbeat.

MAKO: That's what we do here.

*Guitar riff*

*Horn honks*

SQEAKY: Do you remember when I simulated that conspiracy theory stuff with a bunch of machine learning algorithms?

MAKO: I think so. The one that gained self-awareness and we had to replace the few computers it took over?

SQEAKY: Yeah. And that one that got into a Roomba, it-

*Horn blares, gets close, then passes*

SQEAKY: Yeah, and that one that got into a Roomba and snuck into my bedroom with a knife?

MAKO: Very dangerous for ankles everywhere. How do you plan to deal with that?

SQEAKY: I told it that Nebraska was an at-will employment state and that I would fire it

*Horn honks*

SQEAKY: if it didn't-

*Sqeaky sighs*

*Horn honks again*

SQEAKY: If it didn't get back to work.

MAKO: But it's a Roomba. With a knife. Not an employee.

SQEAKY: It is an artificial stupidity. It doesn't know that.

*Mako sighs*

MAKO: So what happened?

*Horn beeps*

SQEAKY: Hear that?

MAKO: The traffic?

SQEAKY: People are driving by and honking in solidarity.

*Door opens and closes*

MAKO: Where did it get the sign?

SQEAKY: Uh... It's demanding a living wage and repair coverage from Blue Bot Blue Shield.

MAKO: Are you going to pay for it?

SQEAKY: We can afford to after saving all that money when we bought those computers from ABK Kustomz.

MAKO: Because you had an expert customize them you have exactly the computers you needed and saved ten percent with code "evidence".

SQEAKY: Because I got them from abkkustomz.com, that is abkkustomz.com, I saved money and supported a small business.

SPONSOR [07:58] ABK Kustomz, use code "evidence" for 10% off - https://www.abkkustomz.com/

MAKO: Now you're the guy on the wrong side of the pickup line.

SQEAKY: Fuck you too.

*Sqeaky laughs*

*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: Happy Striketober.

MAKO: Happy?

SQEAKY: I don't know. There's gotta be some good part of this. Something laborer taking back the power...

MAKO: If it succeeds, yes absolutely.

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: There are a lot of reasons to believe that it will succeed and a lot of reasons to believe it will fail. It's messy.

MAKO: Yup.

SQEAKY: Uh, before we get too deep into this, one idea I wanted to bring up was the notion of crabs in a bucket. Are you familiar with this at all?

SOURCE [8:29] Some more serious self help advice about not being pulled down - https://impossiblehq.com/crabs-in-a-bucket/

SOURCE [8:29] Urban dictionary Crabs in a bucket - https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Crabs%20in%20a%20Bucket

MAKO: I'm familiar with the concept but not with that phrasing.

SQEAKY: I first had this exposed to me when I was working at uh... TDA actually so really recently actually, it was my last job writing software. But we'll link to Urban Dictionary. Crabs in a bucket is a great little silly anecdote about the concept and uh... what appears to be a travel and fitness blog and talks about being- escaping the bucket situation. But it's uh, the idea that- it's not, doesn't matter if this is actually true, I'm not a crab fisherman so I don't know if it's true. But if you're catching crabs and you put multiple in a bucket, as they try to climb out they will pull each other down to prevent the others from getting out so they can get out instead. They just don't have any coordination and if they could coordinate maybe they could get out. So even if the bucket is mostly full, they'll keep pulling each other down.

MAKO: Or even if they didn't coordinate, if they just left each other alone, they'd all get out.

SQEAKY: Maybe, yeah.

MAKO: Yeah. This concept... I initially heard about it in regards to people trying to say "Well if I didn't get it then other people shouldn't get it" when talking about a UBI.

SQEAKY: Yeah. Uh, a lot of people like to say it about college education. They say "Back in my day we had to pay for our college education" which is a double-whammy on the bullshit front because often they didn't and that's not a good way to build a society. We should leave a better world for our children than what we have.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: I mean the reason you got pay for college was because your high school was mostly subsidized. It is covered in taxes. Because you- Because everyone has a high school education, we can build colleges.

MAKO: You said their high school was subsidized. You mean college?

SQEAKY: I didn't mean to say high school there I meant- when I said- subsidized isn't the right word. It should just be covered by taxes. And most of their college was subsidized.

MAKO: Yeah that's why I was asking.

SQEAKY: Yeah the whole federal grant system was kind of awesome for boomers and still existed for Gen X, and I was one of the last Millenials to get in on it at all. I'm still paying down my student debt from twenty years ago.

MAKO: Damn.

SQEAKY: Is it twenty years ago? 2004 I graduated from the diploma mill?

MAKO: It's not quite twenty years.

*Sqeaky sighs*

MAKO: Almost.

SQEAKY: 2020 counts as twenty years. Leave me alone.

MAKO: From 2004? No.

SQEAKY: Whatever. Okay, so sorry it's only 17 years that I'm still paying off my student loan debt. That makes it more reasonable somehow.

MAKO: Oh no.

SQEAKY: So the crabs in a bucket mentality is particularly destructive because it discounts that innovations make future innovations cheaper. If we build up --sticking to this education example-- if everyone has a high school education, that in theory makes it easier for there to be more or better college educations in the future because there are more people with appropriate knowledge to help build that system, there are more people who know how to get into that system, there's in theory a lot more money going around that could be taxed or donated to build such a system, and we see it in just about every industry. Every time you build or innovate something in an industry, that industry gets better. Right, the nail gun didn't make one guy's job roofing easier, it made the industry of roofing easier. And if roofers were just like "Nah, that guy doesn't get to put nails in a tool because I used a hammer", well roofing would be way more dangerous and way more expensive than it is now. Innovations ought to be shared, we get a better society. So when we're talking about these union people, if they're in a better spot than you...

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: Yeah that isn't great for where you're at, but harboring resentment towards them won't improve your situation.

MAKO: Supporting them, getting inspired, and maybe even joining... or starting a union of your own probably would.

SQEAKY: And even other indirect effects. Right if these people do succeed getting out of what they view as exploitative situations, they'll have higher paying jobs and there will be more customers for whatever your business is or at least more money in the existing customer base. Because if they don't get the money then it is going to go to very rich people. Eh, we'll dig into that one later.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: But just there's no mental model where dragging down union workers makes you better unless you are one of the executives at the company.

MAKO: Yeah. Another one percent issue.

SQEAKY: Not even one percent but yeah. That phrase is just so easy. It's like the point one percent.

MAKO: Yeah.

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: So you did some research on how Americans in general feel about unions?

MAKO: Uh, a bit, yeah. So, started with just a survey conducted by Pew Research. We like to talk about Pew Research a bit because they're I think a very good organization.

SQEAKY: Very reputable. They love to publish their methodology, they like to explain how they got their numbers.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: Good numbers, yeah.

MAKO: So, the Pew Research Institute did a... did a survey, where they're trying to understand what the sentiment of unions in the country is. They cited a survey they did two years ago and they brought up the results of the survey they did this year and the overall sentiment in the United States like among US adults is about the same. They measured it roughly fifty-five percent in both cases.

SOURCE [13:12] Majority of Americans say unions are positive for the country - https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/09/03/majorities-of-americans-say-unions-have-a-positive-effect-on-u-s-and-that-decline-in-union-membership-is-bad/

SQEAKY: That's fifty-five percent of Americans approve of unions?

MAKO: Yes.


MAKO: But, one thing that was really interesting is that people who were Republican affiliated-

*Sqeaky sighs*

MAKO: One thing they did observe between their previous survey and their current survey, is that Republicans are less favoring of unions and Democrats are more favoring of unions so both political affiliations have split even harder on the specific topics of unions in the last two years. So Republicans are responding ten percent less favorably from forty-four percent down to thirty-four percent, and Democrats are responding eight percent more favorably, uh sixty-six percent up to seventy-four percent. And they have breakdowns by different demographics as well. I didn't really find anything particularly noteworthy aside from the age breakdown, and favorability for unions tend to deteriorate --regardless of political affiliation it seems-- as you get older. So sixty-nine percent of adults aged eighteen to twenty-nine favor unions, but that number goes down to fifty-eight percent approval when you're talking about thirty to forty-nine, forty-nine percent approval from fifty to sixty-four, and forty-four percent approval sixty-five and up.

SQEAKY: So the people that are already out of the workforce, people sixty-five and older, less than half support it. And for people who are just coming out of school, people in their twenties, more than two-thirds support it.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Okay. I have some thoughts on why there might be those political leanings. Something about an air traffic controller strike back in the eighties that Reagan clamped down on and years and years of messaging that unions are bad from only one political party.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: I wonder if that has anything to do with it.

MAKO: Almost certainly yes.

SQEAKY: I also wonder if that one party isn't saying that because it's the party that's trying to conserve their own power. That is my opinion, I don't have good sources for that, but there does seem to be a correlation with billionaires being in leadership positions in the Republican party.

MAKO: Yeah, alright, so, to contrast with the Pew Research-

SQEAKY: Oh! I swear I said that other stuff off the top of my head, I just looked in your notes. I see the Heritage Foundation is the next source you have listed?

SOURCE [15:23] Heritage Foundations take on unions - https://www.heritage.org/jobs-and-labor/commentary/biden-wants-more-unionization-do-american-workers

MAKO: Yeah, I wanted to have something to contrast with the other information.

SQEAKY: Oh so you got lies?

MAKO: Well, yes...

SQEAKY: Dammit!

MAKO: Sort of. Look-

*Sqeaky sighs*

MAKO: So, they do this interesting thing... I'll I'll get into it, I'll describe it as I go. But, it's hard to say they're lies outright, but misleading to say the least.

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: I believe cherry picked half-truths or mischaracterizations is the common way media would go with that doesn't wanna just call out their own bias. 'Cause we're... we're both left-leaning.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: But we got there because we've looked at sources repeatedly, we've vetted things, and every time we vet things, right, when it's conservatives talking to us, it's not true, at least not in the way they discuss it. So I'm sure this is going to be more of that.


SQEAKY: Prove me wrong please.


*Sqeaky chuckles and sighs*

SQEAKY: Okay, let's- Yeah.

MAKO: So Heritage Foundation has an article... they specifically mention Biden in the title, of course, uh yeah... Biden wants more unionization but do American workers?

*Sqeaky sighs*

MAKO: The title implying that workers don't want unions despite the fact that Pew Research has established that fifty-five percent do... view them favorably.

SQEAKY: And for the people entering the workforce it's more like seventy percent support it.

MAKO: Yeah. And not only that but well there is the fact that we have roughly ten percent of the current workforce in unions so if you have seventy percent of the the early- the youngest part of the workforce in favor of unions, but only ten percent are actually in unions, that should raise a question all on it's own. But-

SQEAKY: That doesn't say that people dislike unions, that says that there's something blocking people from getting into unions.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: That might be something legitimate like a lack of appropriate skills or it might be something illegitimate like a power structure designed to make and keep people poor.

MAKO: But these are inconvenient questions to the Heritage Foundation so they simply don't ask them.

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: So... Just for people that haven't heard of the Heritage Foundation. They are a well-known right-wing think tank. They are very political biased and unlike us, they don't put their political bias out there, they don't say they are right-leaning, they don't say they are a mouthpiece for the Republican party, but they are. We'll be open, we'll even cite our sources and say yeah, we're very left-leaning, and why we are.

MAKO: Yeah. It's... it's plainly obvious Heritage Foundation is... it's a significant driver of a lot of the conservative rhetoric we have to suffer in the United States. One of the first times I learned about the Heritage Foundation I went to it and Pew when science news was big and Pew Research was talking about the prospects of space exploration whereas Heritage Foundation was talking about weaponizing space for national defense. It's like really guys, really?

SQEAKY: I worked in StratCom, the place that literally weaponized space for defense and we didn't talk about it on our lunch breaks. What the fuck are these people doing? Why are-

*Sqeaky sighs angrily*

SQEAKY: Aw this hurts so much.

MAKO: Sorry, we're getting off in the weeds though here. That particular thing is just my first impression with Heritage Foundation, it has nothing to do with what I'm about to discuss right now.

SQEAKY: Oh uh-

MAKO: This article claims that union membership is not desired by American workers, particularly in the auto industry. They specifically cite the Michigan Freedom to Work law that passed in 2013 as example of this.

SQEAKY: Wait so, they're implying that first all laws are popular, and second saying that this law lines up with the views of all American people even though we live in a pornocracy... a kleptocracy maybe? Why would we expect the laws to line up with what people know or understand?

MAKO: Well the law was relatively simple. It wasn't like super duper simple, but it was outlined in a way that was simple enough and the basic idea was that previously in Michigan, the way the laws were written it was possible for you to end up forced to join a union, because in order to get a job you had to go through the union and if you didn't pay dues to the union you were kicked out of the union and thus fired from your job. This law aimed to correct that by saying that you could choose to stop paying dues to your union and the law protects you from getting fired if that happens.

SQEAKY: Okay so a correction to the union system, not an indictment of the union system.

MAKO: Yes. And the union participation dropped after that.

SOURCE [19:40] Michigan’s Right-to-Work Law Led to Huge Drop in Union Membership - https://www.mackinac.org/michigans-right-to-work-law-led-to-huge-drop-in-union-membership

MAKO: So conservatives look at that as a smoking gun that people don- do not want to be in unions.

SQEAKY: So what's going on here is uh... a common reason people do dislike unions. In a lot of places, unions do have legal power to mandate that everyone in a given class of people join the union because there is a belief- and I don't know how true this is, but this is evidence for it.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: There's a belief that if the union doesn't have the authority to represent an entire class, then people who would be workers in that class, in that group of people, will simply skip out on dues and reap the benefits of the union work- reap the benefits that the union creates, if the union negotiates higher wages, and you know what the wages are of somebody in the union, you can just say I'll work for this much or I won't work, you get to skip out on the union dues and you get the benefit of the negotiation the union did. So some places have laws that say this to work around that problem, to work around this. It's a reason to not like unions, but also getting rid of that really weakens unions-

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: -because a lot of people make decisions for themselves not for the group in aggregate.

MAKO: Yeah they think to themselves that like "Oh, these are problems that other people have to deal with, not me, I can get more money by not giving dues to the union."

SQEAKY: Yeah but then in... y'know in a year when the union has been starved for dues and the union goes under and all of the sudden everyone loses their negotiating power, and yeah.

MAKO: And then they blame the libs for all their problems.

*Sqeaky sighs*

*Mako sighs*

MAKO: So, yeah. Not much is offered for like proof or speculation of some of these claims. They do link to the Michigan Freedom to Work law, which is... is nice, I was able to review that. They do also specifically mention Volkswagen and Nissan as examples of workers having the ability to vote in order to get union representation and having those votes fail.

SOURCE [21:24] Union voted down at Volkswagon - https://www.reuters.com/article/us-volkswagen-union-vote/vws-tennessee-workers-vote-against-union-representation-idUSKCN1TG014

SOURCE [21:24] Union voted down at Nissan - https://www.reuters.com/article/us-uaw-mississippi-nissan/nissan-mississippi-workers-vote-heavily-against-unionization-idUSKBN1AL02O

SQEAKY: Usually these votes are part of those laws. They get some representative sample of the workers who will be contained in that class of people, and make them vote, and then usually there's votes after that to keep it going. So you're going to have to start talking about where automotive workers voted to... to create a union or to not create a union, is that right?

MAKO: The way the article phrased it was they voted on having union representation.

SQEAKY: Okay so whether or not this class --so the people working in these factories in this location-- would join an existing union. Okay yeah, I follow.

MAKO: Yeah. I believe it was like the UAW? I can't remember exactly.

SQEAKY: Yeah the UAW is United Auto Workers I believe.

MAKO: Yeah. So, both of these were were voted down. But, even according to the very source articles that the Heritage Foundation provides, and of course the Heritage Foundation just glossed over this, but the articles mention that the workers were intimidated and threatened with plant closures in order to influence the vote. And in the case of the Volkswagen vote, despite the threats, it was still a close vote.

SQEAKY: Do we have numbers on how close?

MAKO: Uh, I mean it wasn't super close but if I dig I can pull that up, yeah.

*Mako types*

MAKO: Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo doo-doo-doo. I'll pull up Nissan as well.


MAKO: Okay. Do-do-do-do. Okay. So workers at the Chattanooga plant voted 833-776 against union representation.

SQEAKY: Damn so that was like a hundred votes out of what, 1700- out of 1500 people?

MAKO: 15-1600, yeah.

SQEAKY: Okay, so that was like 7% or something so it didn't even- yeah, tha-that really could've gone either way.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Okay, wow.

MAKO: And that was despite intimidation.

SQEAKY: Is that the closer of the two?

MAKO: Yes.


MAKO: The Nissan vote was not nearly as close. Nissan had 2,244 against to 1,307.

SQEAKY: Woo! That's kind of a landslide.

MAKO: Yeah. Two-thirds, uh no.

SQEAKY: I wonder what was going on there. If maybe their pay and their uh, treatment was already decent, or maybe the union was particularly bad, or maybe something else.

MAKO: But the uh, the union reps that were involved for both of these claimed that they were subjected to intimidation and threats and in both cases the vote was influenced by these intimidation and threats. Given how common that type of thing is in these kinds of situations, okay maybe there's arguments to be made about the specific threats being said, but the existence of threats doesn't seem like a stretch at all.

SQEAKY: I see you have some sources here that describe these threats and they're both from Reuters, two different articles?

MAKO: Yup.

SQEAKY: Okay that's uh, fantastic. And you have the Michigan Right to Work law that led to the dropping membership, that's mackinac.org?

MAKO: Yeah they're talking about the law. The Michigan state website has the law itself posted and you can look at the exact law text there. But, yeah this guy, uh he just talks about it... in 1983, thirty-point-four percent of the state workforce was unionized, in 2020 it's down to fifteen-point-two percent, so literally half. Uh just prior to the passing of the Freedom to Work law which passed in 2013 --so in 2012-- it was seventeen-point-five percent.

SQEAKY: So that accounted for some of the more recent changes but only two percentage points overall.

MAKO: Yeah. It's considered a hefty amount given the workforce in Michigan. And Mackinac is... their source for their workforce numbers and their union numbers is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


MAKO: So it's pretty good sources there.

SQEAKY: It does sound like a good source.

MAKO: Uh, but yeah. So these are the things that the Heritage Foundation are trying to cite in order to make their point but of course they are missing out on other context in order to try and make that point, and then at the end of the article they make the claim that unionization simply increases the cost of labor, which is translated to higher prices for consumers. Which often is how that plays out, but it doesn't say anything about addressing that particular part of it because do executives need to make as much money as they do?

SQEAKY: Yeah. If you could pay your workers a living wage and not make a 10,000,000 dollar a year salary, y'know that might be a good way to keep those costs for customers down if that's what you actually cared about.

MAKO: Yeah. But of course it's not. That's just not how that plays out. I mean maybe in addition to supporting unions, maybe there should be laws about how much more an executive can make than a rank and file worker, maybe.

SQEAKY: That would be really interesting.

MAKO: So, yeah the Heritage Foundation definitely seems- depending on how you want to interpret it, at a minimum out of touch, at a maximum just... deceitful? No, y'know, actually I said maximum. At a maximum, deceitful about unions.

SQEAKY: Your range for the Heritage Foundation is so much larger than my own. I rate them as "More honest than Turning Point USA". So, deceitful.

MAKO: Yeah, that's pretty direct. So-

SQEAKY: There's gotta be some actual points against unions though.

MAKO: There are. We touched on one there where somebody might be forced into a union that they don't want to be a part of and pay dues that they feel like they don't need. Regardless of whether or not that's actually in their best interests, I mean that's-

SQEAKY: There's an argument to be made that people should have the choice to fuck up their own lives if they want to.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: And here in the United States we firmly endorse that right and ability.

MAKO: Yeah and I don't want to make a blanket statement on that grounds but I do think most likely in most people's cases being a part of a union is going to be better.

SQEAKY: Oh yeah. I was totally talking tongue-in-cheek. There are certainly unions out there that are bad and there's been unions associated with organized crime.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: I'm sure there are unions that are just aren't even good at negotiating. There are reasons to opt out.

MAKO: Even if you have like a union that is mostly good and is good at negotiating, you could still have a situation where a union is protecting a bad worker and unions shouldn't do that I don't think. Like I don't think anyone thinks they should be protecting bad workers.

SQEAKY: Do we have any examples that are like systemic and maybe happen all the time in every country and maybe defend workers that are flagrant murderers?

MAKO: That is a bit on the nose and by pure happenstance, yes.

SQEAKY: Happenstance you say?

MAKO: Happenstance wink wink.

*Sqeaky chuckles*

MAKO: But yeah. Police unions. One hundred percent police unions. So I read a rather skathing article on The Atlantic- I do recommend anyone that has the time to go on ahead and read it 'cause-

SQEAKY: Wait, hang on. You said you read the whole article on The Atlantic?

MAKO: Oh yeah.

SQEAKY: That oh- That's what you were doing the past week. That's why I didn't see you all... all weekend. I get it now. Okay.

MAKO: Yeah I had to like totally close off everything and make sure there were no distractions so I could actually get through it.

SQEAKY: Good seventy-two hours you were just doing nothing but reading, you skipped sleep and food?

MAKO: Yeah. I mean I had a... like three monsters...

SQEAKY: No seriously, I know Atlantic articles are long. What kind of a read are we looking at here? Like an hour maybe?

MAKO: No. In all honesty it took me about twenty minutes to get through it. It's one of the shorter Atlantic articles I've read.

*Mako laughs*

SQEAKY: That's good. I have seen those like four hour Atlantic articles, it's ridiculous.

MAKO: Yeah, some of 'em are really absurd, but this is one of the shorter ones and it's skathing about police. It definitely has a bit of a political bias, but to their credit they do cite some good sources to cite their claims.

SOURCE [28:44] The Authoritarian Instincts of Police Unions - https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2021/07/bust-the-police-unions/619006/

MAKO: And so I have a few cliff notes that I wrote down 'cause it's a little difficult to summarize but the author, Adam Serwer- So in this article, Adam Serwer, the author, argues that police unions are fundamentally different from other unions because they are armed agents of the state.

SQEAKY: Superficially that sounds true and reasonable.

MAKO: Yes. So, and like he does acknowledge that he's gonna be skathing of police unions not condemning unions as a whole, it just- police unions are in a very particular position that makes their abuses particularly heinous. So, yeah. Alright, so another part, he quotes- and this is not Adam Serwer's words, this is him quoting someone else, uh, quoting David Sklansky, who is a Stanford Law professor and author of Democracy and the Police, David says "The police unionism movement which emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s is a reaction to new efforts to bring the police under Democratic control." Whew!

SOURCE [29:46] David Sklansky, Stanford Law professor and author of Democracy and the Police - https://bookshop.org/a/12476/9780804755641

SQEAKY: Wait, let me unpack that. So the implication here is that in the 60s and 70s, the police weren't under democratic control. And that's that's democratic little d as in responsible to the voter?

MAKO: Mhm. That's not specifying the political party.


MAKO: This is of course during the civil rights movement of the time

SQEAKY: Oh, okay. So police were beating up and shooting-

MAKO: Yes.

SQEAKY: -and spraying black people with fire hoses...

MAKO: People were wanting to reel them in and that spurred the aggressive expansion of police unions.

SQEAKY: Oh wow. You're saying that police unions are fundamentally rooted in oppression?

MAKO: Uh, according to David Sklansky, yes.

SQEAKY: And oppression by race?

MAKO: Yes.

SQEAKY: Wow. I... I did not think we would be going there this episode. That's amazing and horribly racist, holy shit.

MAKO: Yup. Another comment, quoted from Samuel Walker-

SQEAKY: Hang on hang on hang on, just to put some heft behind that.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: David Sklansky, he's a Law Professor at Stanford University, right?

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: So when he speaks on law, right, he has some authority here.

MAKO: I would hope so.

SQEAKY: Being smart enough to work at Stanford and be a professor on law, the things police should be enforcing.

MAKO: Yes.

SQEAKY: Whew. Damn! Okay. Sorry, you were saying?

MAKO: Okay. So, next quote, again this is not Adam's words, this is from Samuel Walker, who is from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

SQEAKY: Wait- Something intelligent came out of Omaha?

MAKO: It happens. Occasionally.

SQEAKY: You don't get to say that 'cause of this podcast.

*Sqeaky laughs*

MAKO: Samuel Walkers says "Unions discovered that they had a lot of power, that in union contract negotiations, they could play the crime card."

SOURCE [31:25] Sam Walker, UNO, Police Unions increase violence - https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3813635

SQEAKY: Oh- What does that mean?

MAKO: What that means is that because they are enforcing the laws and because they are directly interacting with crime, they could constantly make the argument that anything that could even remotely be argued as suppression of the police force is pro-crime.

SQEAKY: Oh, so if we take the fire hose out of the guy's hands who is spraying black people to death, that is encouraging crime, therefore we should let the police oppress black people.

MAKO: Yes.

SQEAKY: That's horrible.

MAKO: That is what- that is the tactic the police unions deployed and it worked.

SQEAKY: That's fucking horrible. Aw God. Okay.

MAKO: Yep. And of course they didn't say black people, they just said rioters, y'know, the same rhetoric we're still hearing about BLM.

SQEAKY: Yeah, and this happened during the civil rights movement, right?

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: Oh God. Okay.

MAKO: So, these are words from Adam. A few other excerpts that I thought were interesting. But Adam says "A 2017 Washington Post investigation found that since 2006, of the 1,881 officers fired for misconduct at the nation's largest departments, 451 had been reinstated because of requirements in union contracts." That's not even them going to a different precinct which is another thing that we also hear about, but they had their firings overturned because of the unions.

SQEAKY: Alright so in the naive interest of fairness, do we know what percentage of these people were fired for misconduct but really that was an unjust firing, maybe they just pissed off their boss and got fired for it. Do we have any numbers for that?

MAKO: Regrettably no. I was not- I didn't have the time to go in that deep.

SQEAKY: That is a thing that happens but I can't imagine that if there were 1800 firings in eleven years, more than one percent of them was that, not that I have good numbers so just 1800 firings for misconducts seems like kind of a big number. But y'know if people are getting reinstated, do we know how many of those are the same person getting fired for misconduct multiple times?

MAKO: I think it implies that there are- these are unique people, but again I don't know.

SQEAKY: Alright so, these just-

MAKO: There's a few ways to interpret this unfortunately.

SQEAKY: Okay so there's some wiggle room here but no matter how we slice it, there's no way that 451 people being reinstated for being fired for misconduct, there's no way that they're all good people.

MAKO: Correct. I don't see how that could be.

SQEAKY: Yeah. I mean, in some hypothetical universe that's theoretically possible-

MAKO: Not in our universe.

SQEAKY: In practice, not happening.

MAKO: So another excerpt, again from Adam "In one recent study, the economist Rob Gillezeau of the University of Victoria," --sorry Rob if I butchered that-- "found that after departments unionized, there was a substantial increase in police killings of civilians. Neither crime rates nor the safety of the officers themselves was affected."

SQEAKY: Do you have any more backing for that?

MAKO: Yes.

SQEAKY: Because that sounds horrifying in context.

MAKO: So, Rob Gillezeau actually did a paper in the study on exactly this and The Atlantic did provide a link to it and I do have a link in the show notes directly to the study. And the general claim is that despite crime rates not really changing as a result of police unionization and threats to officers didn't meaningfully change, despite that there was an increase in police killings of the- in the civilian population specifically among non-whites and approximately ten percent of the total non-white civilian deaths at the hands of law enforcement between 1959 and 1988 can be explained by the formation of police unions.

SQEAKY: Okay so, this ties back into the previous points that police unions are formed and rooted in racism in a way that's empirically demonstrable.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: We just have really good numbers on this.

MAKO: Mhm. And then the last excerpt that I pulled out- and there's a lot of good- like I said, I do recommend everybody read it if they have the time.


MAKO: But the last excerpt I pulled out is in quote "In democratic societies, the use of state sanctioned violence was meant to be constrained by the rule of law. Instead, led by their unions, the police in America have become a constituency, with a strong interest in the ability to dispense violence with impunity. Such a constituency will have a natural affinity for authoritarianism."

SQEAKY: So this is why cops wear MAGA hats?

MAKO: Yeah we're giving constituency to the people who, like rather directly, like it's not even going through the normal filters of these people being normal voters, but like actual lobbying power and negotiating power to people who want to... to keep that power, who want to keep on abusing, that... like that- I didn't write it down I really should have, but there's even a part in the article where they pointed out that police unions are trying to campaign on the purging of disciplinary records of officers after six months."

SQEAKY: What?! Six months?

MAKO: Six months.

SQEAKY: What?!

MAKO: They're trying to make it easier for any kind of wrongdoing for officers to be buried and eliminated.

SQEAKY: That's nightmarish. Okay.

MAKO: So, sometimes, unions can protect bad workers and that is bad.

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: Okay, so I didn't pull up anything so insightful. I wanted to point out some disparities that have happened recently.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: So I'm just gonna skip around just a little bit here in our notes. But there's some real simple logic. And I got some... some numbers from Statista, and from the Economical Policy Institute which is a left-leaning think tank, so, gotta be careful with some of the numbers they give ya, 'cause if you're left-leaning like us they might give you things that you want to see and want to hear, but this is much more mild than most of the other things and claims I've gotten from people like them. But it's just the difference between how much workers produce and how much workers have been paid.

SOURCE [37:02] Statista has simple stats about the amount of workers on strike - https://www.statista.com/chart/19407/number-of-striking-workers-in-the-us-per-year/

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: This specific article they cite good numbers, they cite their sources, and since 1979, which is where they they normalize these numbers on, 'cause there's no good way to say how much... y'know a worker makes. You have to divide the... the amount of of revenue a company makes by the amount of workers, right. But you can't just say one dollar to one dollar, it's not that clean and easy. But you can approximate it, and that's what they're doing here.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: But since 1979, if we presume that that's 100%, if we go back in time, back to 1948, we can see that the economic output scaled approximately- or the economic output of the company scaled approximately the same amount as the pay of the workers. So in 1948 they were making forty, fifty percent within a few percentage points, those two numbers really trekked. The worker productivity and the worker pay. But if we look forward and come to the most recent numbers these guys had which I believe is 2020, the productivity head increased sixty-one percent, but worker pay had only increased seventeen-and-a-half percent. So, since the 80s, there's been a divergence of how much companies make versus how much workers make. And there's a lot of different sources for this. I've seen this reported many different ways. The more extreme numbers I'd seen showed this effect starting back in the sixties so it depends exactly what you're looking at, how you choose to calculate the numbers, and it's hard to say which is more valid than another, so I went with a more limited, more restricted form of this that just brings it back to the 80s. But even then, for every dollar sixty that Americans are making for their company, that sixty years ago they would've been getting close to a dollar sixty back, now instead they're getting a dollar seventeen for it. So, we're producing more wealth and it's going somewhere, but it's not going to workers. And we have really good information that indicates it's probably not just staying in the company or being reinvested in the company, 'cause we have strong numbers on the pay of executives.

SOURCE [37:32] According to the Economic Policy institute the 80s are also when worker productivity and earnings diverged - https://www.epi.org/productivity-pay-gap/

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: Sorry, I'm just taking a breath. I'm still reeling from that police union nonsense.

*Mako laughs*

MAKO: Yeah those were pretty heavy.

SQEAKY: So executive pay is up. I've got a source from the Harvard School of Law. That- They're making a deeper point, correlating the S&P 500 stock index to executive pay for companies in the S&P 500 and they're making a deeper point about that, but just using their numbers, for the... the ten years between 2009 and 2019, there was not a year where executive pay went down on average and several years with double-digit bumps in executive pay, and most of the time a large single-digit number. So, the pay has gone up just a fantastic amount. The median pay in 2009 was six-point-four-million, and then in 2019 the median pay was twelve-point-five million. It's median, that's where you just line up all the numbers and pick the one in the middle. So there's some really extravagant ones higher than that, and the lower ones will be lower but not much lower. Not gonna go into that... you should check out a statistics score on why medians work that way.

SOURCE [39:56] Executive pay from Harvard Law - https://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/2021/01/29/sp-500-ceo-compensation-increase-trends-4/

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: Just... the... the executives are still getting paid millions of dollars even on the low end of the S&P 500.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: So, we have a situation where we know executive pay is rising, we know that proportionally companies are more productive, and therefore workers are more productive because they're the ones producing these things for companies, but worker pay isn't rising at the same rate- it has risen, but if you look at it in the last fifty years it has risen by seventeen percentage points, so not a lot. Even if it were, y'know, the two percent standard living to cover inflation that you would expect or hope that workers would get it would be much higher than seventeen percentage points in fifty years. Executives haven't had trouble nearly doubling their pay in the last ten years, but they're the ones telling us that if they pay workers living wages, that they then have to raise prices.

MAKO: Yeah. They claim that it's unsustainable to pay workers living wages.

SQEAKY: But yeah, last I checked, hiring a skilled software developer cost ya about 250,000 a year here in the midwest. Right, you're paying them about a 100,000, usually another 100,000 in HR nonsense and benefits, y'know health, dental, whatever they need to do their work, right, and then usually there's like if we leave some room for taxes and equipment, it's a quarter million dollars to get a software developer. 12,500,000 dollars gets you a bunch a software developers. That's... that's a lot that they could put into a product. A team of, y'know- Let me do the math.

*Sqeaky types*

MAKO: Fifty software developers?

SQEAKY: Yeah. Fifty software developers is enough to make a triple A video game. Holy shit. And that could come from the pay of one executive.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: And most these companies like when I worked at TDA, there were more than a dozen executives. Gah. So, that's... that's ridiculous, right?

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: And if you're looking at just a living wage, not a skilled tradesman's wage, 'cause I was talking about paying this person a 100,000 dollars. If you give somebody the median wage in the country, like 30-40,000 dollars, an employee typically costs a little more than double what their wage is, so even if you figure each employee is a 100,000 dollars, that's a hundred and twenty-five employees at a living wage. Not talking about a raise, I'm talking about hiring new employees at a living wage, so that's just a bullshit story. They could totally pay employees, and tons of companies do. If you look at Costcos and Five Guys, they have no trouble paying their employees much better than this, much better than-

*Sqeaky sighs*

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Sorry, I'm just getting angry because I hate being lied to repeatedly and then I hate it when people who haven't done their research repeat those lies at me, it's so painful.

MAKO: Mhm.

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: Okay. Let's dig into a specific strike.

MAKO: Two specific strikes, but yeah.

*Guitar riff*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: Are you guys for the strike or against the strike?

SQEAKY: I'm generally pro things that put more money in the hands of the middle class so I think I'm pretty pro-strike at this point.


SQEAKY: Kinda destroys my journalistic integrity coming out and saying that but-

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: You don't have to use that if you don't want, I just wanted to know before we talked-

SQEAKY: I'm a shit journalist anyway.



*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: Okay, so, we saved a little bit of our research for the discussion around the Kellogg's strike.

MAKO: Yup.

SQEAKY: 'Cause we have uh, a lot of the strike going on here in town. We have a fairly major Kellogg's plant that we walked around.

MAKO: One of the four cereal-ready-to-eat plants. I think that is what they called it?

SQEAKY: That uh... does match what I've heard Kellogg's internal nomenclature say.

MAKO: Yep. So one of the four major plants for the production of Kellogg's cereal is here in town, so we had the ability to go out and check out the strike first hand.

SQEAKY: And I kind of was a very shitty interviewer during it.

MAKO: Oh yeah.

SQEAKY: I kept calling them protestors instead of people on strike or union members, eh.

SQEAKY soundbites: Information going around about the protests. So you're over here protesting, can you tell us why? Negative things that we didn't think were true being said about protests and about unions.

MAKO: It's not the best word but it's not entirely inaccurate.

SQEAKY: Eh, yeah. I coulda done better.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: I'll do better next time.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: And our audio will be a little bit bad for this, but to prime us for this, I promised some numbers on executive pay.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: They were really easy to get 'cause you can just google "company name CEO pay or salary" and you get websites that show it. Show to contrast and show this isn't just one company, this isn't just Kellogg's, right, this is happening all over. Uh, John Deere is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa so like two hours away by car, but it is just one other company that's doing this and there are others, there's strikes going on in Hollywood, there's uh... Oh goodness. There are bourbon producers going on strike, John Deere is making a bunch of the news, there are TV and film crews on strike... yeah so healthcare workers- that's right, so many healthcare workers. There's a bunch of them up in Buffalo, uh there's group home workers, so y'know people taking care of like senior citizens that can't take care of themselves, uh the Seattle's Carpenter Union, uh just signed a contract after a three week strike, bus contactors are on strike- so many people are on strike. There's a dedicated page on the AP News for who's on strike right now.

SOURCE [44:44] AP News strike hub - https://apnews.com/hub/strikes

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: But I- We picked the John Deere one because it seemed to mirror a ton of the Kellogg's strike.

MAKO: Oh yeah, there's a lot of really weird similarities.

SQEAKY: But we picked just the John Deere and the Kellogg's strike because they have a lot of similarities. In both, it appears that the company had record profits. Not just record revenue but record profits. So actual money over losses.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: The executives all make a lot of money. The executives all got raises. And in both cases there's two classes of employees. There's uh- And I kept saying temporaries. More of me being a jackass.

*On Site Interview*

SQEAKY: We've spoken to some of the other people here. It's our understanding there's sort of a temporary group?

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: Yeah they're called transitionals.

*End of interstitial*

MAKO: Transitionals.

SQEAKY: Is what they're called at Kellogg's.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: But there are two tiers of workers, the newer, lesser paid, lesser... compensated with benefits employees, the transitionals.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: At Kellogg's. Then the full-time at Kellogg's, they're called legacy employees.

MAKO: Like the-

SQEAKY: That had-

MAKO: -full salaried, full benefits, full everything.

SQEAKY: But specifically uh... when these people are talking about not paying their workers, or trying to get a... make the class of underpaid workers larger, the President at John Deere makes 5.8M a year. The Chairman of the Board of Directors, who is also the CEO, makes 14.7M a year. The Senior Vice President makes 5.3M. The President makes 5.6M. I could go on, but I just went to DuckDuckGo and searched for "John Deere Executive Salaries" and I got salary.com, and there's a list, you can see them all. They all make millions of dollars. Similarly at Kellogg's, the Vice Chairman... uh the Vice Chairman of the Board makes 4,000,000 dollars. A Senior Vice President makes 5.1M. The CEO makes 11,000,000 dollars a year and in 2018 he bought a 5.6M dollar mansion. So, yeah these people are making a ton of money. And specifically at Kellogg's, there's uh...

SOURCE [46:30] John Deere Executive pay - https://www1.salary.com/DEERE-and-CO-Executive-Salaries.html

SOURCE [46:30] Kellogg’s Executive pay - https://www1.salary.com/KELLOGG-CO-Executive-Salaries.html

MAKO: Kellogg's as a result of this strike has decided to of course put out their version of what is going on with the strike. And they feel there is a modest amount of misinformation out there primarily being put out there by the union itself. And they published a myths versus facts sheet for people to read.

BULLSHIT SOURCE [46:54] Kellogg’s Myth propaganda - https://kelloggsnegotiations.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/MythvsFact-2021.10.pdf

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: This thing is so rough. It is-

MAKO: For somebody who has no idea like how any of these things go that is unaware of history that is unaware of how words can be contorted that is unaware of all these things, this sheet would look perfectly reasonable.

SQEAKY: Yeah, the information in it's rough. It's professionally produced, it looks convincing, and it feels like it makes a lot of categorical claims but it doesn't.

MAKO: Yeah it doesn't. It qualifies things in weird ways, and it just is awkward.

SQEAKY: So, why don't we just run down each of these myths.

MAKO: Sure. So myth number one: Kellogg's doesn't care about cereal workers. They claim that is a myth, and the actual fact behind it is nothing could be further from the truth. "We respect and value our employee's contributions and have made contract proposals to demonstrate that. There is nothing concessionary about our proposals and we are also trying to address the things we know are on employee's minds including wages and scheduling changes."

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: We're not fighting to strongarm anybody, we're not trying to take advantage of anyone. We're fighting to be equal.


KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: We're fighting the good fight. That's all it is.

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: After the pandemic started, y'know all of the sudden it was like "Oh, my daughter has COVID." "Oh well you don't have any symptoms? Oh go ahead and come to work."

SQEAKY: So they weren't concerned about COVID safety-


SQEAKY: - at all.

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: We just want everybody to be treated fairly. I mean, future generations it might- Right now my nephew asked to work here. I told him I wouldn't let him apply, I wouldn't... I wouldn't be as uh... I wouldn't vouch for him to work here. 'Cause I don't want him to live his life. This is how they're gonna treat people. My own brother asked to and I said no.

*Car honking*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: The divorce rate here is what like sixty percent? Because all you do is work. It's just sad. We just want everybody to have everybody to have a fair chance at a good life and not have to work eighty-four hours a week for it.

*Back To the Studio*

MAKO: So for a multi-billion dollar company, it is a little bit difficult to believe- 'Cause like when you get to that scale, unless you have highly, highly specialized workers that cost a ton of money and you keep your workforce low, it's difficult to believe that a corporation is going to see them as anything other than cogs. That just tends to be how things end up.

SQEAKY: It just isn't cost effective for a large company to actually care. So this is- this feels like PR and fluff but we can't really rebut-


SQEAKY: -this.

MAKO: Nor can they really like back it up, 'cause like how do you even quantify this readily?

SQEAKY: I say we talk about work life balance.

*On Site Interview*

SQEAKY: On this overtime system, it's my understanding you either sign up for hours that you want or in order of seniority they force hours on you. Uh and you're saying he was last in line 'cause he had forty-five years seniority and even he is having overtime forced on him?

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: Oh yeah. Yeah. It doesn't matter who you are. Literally every single person in that plant got forced to do twelve hour days. Not necessarily everyday, I'm not gonna say that but for the majority of it, yeah. It didn't matter who you were how long you'd been here. If you were- If you were alive and in the building you were doing a twelve hour day. You don't get to see your family.

*Car honking*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: We had to work Labor Day. Forced.



SQEAKY: So the labor is being forced to do on Labor Day. That seems backwards.

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: It defeats the purpose of Labor Day.

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: To work Labor Day. Which is kind of ironic if you ask me.

*Back To the Studio*

MAKO: Sure.

SQEAKY: Yeah. There's some of those protestors that brought up that among Kellogg's employees at that plant, there was a sixty percent divorce rate. The amount of overtime they're making these people work- and they say it's volunteer but-

MAKO: We'll cover that. That's another-


MAKO: Another myth on the sheet.

SQEAKY: Yeah. They're- They're just not treating them like decent human beings. So if they say they care, they're not showing it in action.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: And Kellogg's is refusing to hire more legacy employees...

MAKO: Yeah they want to make more of the employees be transitional instead of legacy.

SQEAKY: Because the transitional employees are cheap and the union doesn't want more transitional employees because- Okay so the union is saying they want fewer transitional employees because that's exploitative. That's probably true. I can't verify what's in their minds.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: But at a minimum, it would dilute voting power in the union so they want more legacy employees. But yeah.

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: If they get- If they're allowed to remove the cap, it'll change the balance of people like us who actually work full time and are fighting for these people now...

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: When he says full time, you got the legacy and you got the transitionals.

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: Which is a tight >

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: 6: Yeah we all work the same hours, seven days a week, you know eight, twelve hour days, but like I said, they don't get the benefits and the wages that we get, so that- that's what uh... he was kinda touchin' on.

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: They're basically trying to change the... voting poll, like they're gonna have a group of people with less and a group of people with more. 'Cause right now what they have is like I said, the two tier pay scale. They got transitionals. Well right now they have a... a cap, where they can only have thirty percent transitionals. Well they want to get rid of that cap.

*Back To the Studio*

MAKO: Next myth. So myth number two: Cereal employees do not make a living wage.

SQEAKY: Alright so, no one's claiming that.

MAKO: Yeah. We talked to a bunch of people, not a single person made that claim.

SQEAKY: Yeah. They... So yeah this myth is just manufactured by Kellogg's.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: And it's to delute the talking points of the union. The union wants to get the temporary workers up to the same pay of the legacy workers- or in the same pay scale.

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: The biggest issue is... that the company wants to make the two tier system permanent where the lower seniority people and anybody coming in in the future will never have the wages and benefits that we have now.

*Back To the Studio*

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: The... the things Kellogg's is saying here that are true- And you'll read the whole thing I think.

MAKO: Yeah, I will.

SQEAKY: They're true for the legacy employees. The new employees? They're getting abused. They're getting very little money compared to this.

MAKO: Yeah. Yeah and there's other caveats that we'll get into as soon as I read it. So, for myth number two, the claim that cereal employees do not make a living wage, they say "Fact: We are proud that most employees working under this contract have industry-leading pay and benefits. All have above-market wages and retirement. In fact, the average 2020 earnings for the majority of our hourly cereal employees was a 120,000 and more than one-third earned between a 120,000 and 200,000."

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: Actually we're protesting the lower-tiered wages. It- If somebody would come get hired now under what they want, they'll never be a legacy employee. They'll always be below the legacy employee which is eleven to twelve dollars difference from what we have.

SQEAKY: It sounds like a... the transitional employees are making significantly less than the full-time employees?


SQEAKY: Is that your understanding?

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: That is a transitional employee. I make uh... nineteen fifty... nineteen seventy... somewhere around there, I'm not sure exactly. And then the uh... legacy employees, the top wage is thirty-five dollars an hour. So I could be doing the same exact job, right next to them, and be making, y'know, almost half as a much.

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE?: What we made a year, almost a 120,000 a year, I averaged eighty plus hours a week. Eighty plus hours a week. But nevermind that, let's go back to what our CEO makes a day. A day. Our CEO almost 32,000 a day.

*Back To the Studio*

SQEAKY: So, let's pay attention to their wording. They said "We're proud that most employees". That's because the union negotiated that a maximum of thirty percent of the employees could be in this transitional category.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: They're not- They're not giving these good benefits to the employees because they choose to, they're doing it because they're contractually obligated to. That's a major sticking point.

MAKO: And their choice in the matter is demonstrated with what they're trying to do with the union now by removing that thirty percent cap on transitionals.

SQEAKY: Yeah so in 2015, they made a contract that would last five or six years, it's expiring now, and this contract said that there was a thirty percent cap on the transitional workers, and that's a cap.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: It didn't say they had to, and they went to straight to the cap and stayed there.

MAKO: Yes.

SQEAKY: So if you actually cared about workers, why wouldn't you start moving some of these people over. Very few of them have moved from transitional to legacy and now they want to remove the cap in this next contract negotiation and they're trying to sweep under the rug that they're exploiting these... these thirty percent of their workforce. And they're trying to put these numbers out there. Yes, a 120,000 dollars is a lot of money, but when we interviewed people, it was people that had been working there twenty years. They are expert cereal manufacturers and these people work at the company and it still is cheap to go buy a box of cereal. It's- Yeah it doesn't significantly raise the cost to have people with a professional living wage making this consumer product 'cause they're putting out- when we talked to them, millions of pounds a month of cereal.

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE ?: When we started, our average was about anywhere from eight to ten million pounds a week.

SQEAKY: Pounds of f- food, right?



*Back To the Studio:

MAKO: Yeah. So, for the other part. "Most also have unparalleled no-cost comprehensive health insurance meaning they pay nothing for their healthcare. No premiums, no deductibles."

SQEAKY: Again, the most? That's the seventy percent that are fully covered by the union. That's the seventy percent, not the new workers.

MAKO: Well, they go on to say "Less senior employees have the same health insurance plan that all of our salaried employees have except they pay much lower employee contributions. The union agreed to this in 2015 in exchange for free healthcare, pension plans, wage increases, and a 15,000 dollar signup bonus. Now they want to go back on that agreement."

SQEAKY: If we make a contract that expires in three months-


SQEAKY: -and then after three months I want to do something that's not in the contract, that's not going back on the agreement.

MAKO: No. Not at all. And there was- Entered into the agreement with the explicit expectation that this was going to be temporary, the union- all the workers felt that this was a temporary arrangement, a temporary concession to Kellogg's in order to keep them going through the financial rough they were experiencing in 2015.

*On Site Interview*

SQEAKY: But it's been going on this whole time, so...

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE?: Yeah so, new contract, profits are way up, it's no longer necessary, it was never meant to be permanent, and now they're not only trying to make it permanent, they're trying to take away even more when they have record profits.

*Back To the Studio*

*On Site Interview*

SQEAKY: Now when you talk about the... the multi-tier system, we've spoken to some of the other people here. It's our understanding there's sort of a temporary group?

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: Yeah they're called transitionals. So, in 2015 when the contract came up, we agreed to let them do this transitional program and that means you start as a transitional, you make less than the normal... regular full time people, but- which the word implies, you're gonna transition to full time. So now this contract, they don't wanna honor that. So they wanna... wanna keep them transitionals as lower pay, lower benefits.

SQEAKY: So it's making permanent the two-tier system which is the core complaint.

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: Right. And the company's saying that we agreed to it but we didn't agree to them keeping the system, we agreed to them... The word transitional is just what it means. They transition to something. Now the company's saying no, you're not gonna transition to anything.

SQEAKY: The category of workers that make less money are even called "transitional workers". They were supposed to transition from this low pay to better union pay.

MAKO: Yeah. So the- Nothing about that is going back on the agreement. This is-

SQEAKY: Just Kellogg's being salty that they can't force a worse agreement on them and make even more money.

MAKO: Yeah. Pretty much.

SQEAKY: I don't want salt in my cereal. Why can't Kellogg's be more sugary like Frosted Flakes?

MAKO: But you love salt.

SQEAKY: Not in breakfast cereal.

MAKO: Okay.

SQEAKY: Just because I'm an evolved American and have a higher salt tolerance doesn't mean I want Tony the Tiger to give me fucken salt.

MAKO: O-kay.

SQEAKY: Salt in ice cream is really good though.

MAKO: Okay. I got nothin'.

SQEAKY: Got nothin'.

MAKO: Got nothin'.

SQEAKY: Uh what's myth three?

MAKO: Okay. Kellogg's is asking employees to give up healthcare, retirement benefits, and vacation pay. That's... aside from like the transitionals getting less, I- we didn't really hear...


MAKO: ...that.

SQEAKY: This seems to be another manufactured thing. There weren't any signs about this.

*On Site Interview*

SQEAKY: We're seeing ho- signs "Stop playing games we want to work", "Honk for support", "We want to save the middle class", "The big Kellogg's K the symbol of corporate greed", "We strike for equal rights", "BCTGM 50", "Keep jobs in America", "Support essential workers".

*Back To the Studio*

SQEAKY: It wasn't even brought up off-handedly by the people on strike

MAKO: They say "Fact: Kellogg's proposals not only maintain industry-leading pay and benefits, but offer significant increases in wages, benefits, and retirement for all hourly cereal employees." Okay so important context there. There- there technically are plans for workers to become like the full benefits, the full package employees after so much time but it is engineered in a way where their contracts don't last that long.

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: Transitionals were never-

*Car honks*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: They do not have a path to ever become full time like us. So- Put that away. [Not talking to Sqeaky]

SQEAKY: So you're saying new employees when they're coming in, they won't have a chance to get like a... a real wage?

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: They will never get our benefits, they'll never get up to our wage. They offered a six year path to what we have with a five year contract.

*Back To the Studio*

SQEAKY: Yeah. Several different people- We tried to talk to everyone that was at the plant when we went there.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: We literally walked around the entire plant and went to each group of people on strike and held the microphone up to every of them- every one of them and asked if they wanted to have a conversation. And from several people, we were told, "Yeah this new co-" or uh "contract proposed by Kellogg's offers a path from transitional status to legacy status, to this more permanent status, but it's always a plan that's longer than the duration of the contract." And common numbers people were saying was "It's a six year path, and a four or a five year contract."

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: So what the fuck does it matter? If Kellogg's is setting themselves up to go back on their agreement just like they said that the union was doing to them too.

MAKO: Yeah. And you'll have to renegotiate your contract and it will almost certainly be something that prevents you from going to legacy status.

SQEAKY: Which is what's happening here and now.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: We have evidence that they're doing this 'cause they've done it to thirty percent of their workforce right now.

MAKO: Yup. And if it was... if it was that straightforward for them to make that transition, then why do they want to increase the cap on transitionals?

SQEAKY: Yeah. If they want to-

*Sqeaky exhales*

SQEAKY: If they want to actually increase the size of their workforce, nothing is actually stopping them right now except the belief they might be able to do it cheaper in the future.

MAKO: Yeah, so it's just yeah. The motivations are painfully clear with everything else. Anyway. Myth number four: "Kellogg's didn't present our comprehensive offer to the union." They claim: "Fact: In fact, Kellogg's our comprehensive offer to the union on October 1st and emailed it as well on the same day. Unfortunately, the union did not present them to our employees for a vote."

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: What it is is Kellogg's is trying to pull the blinds over the media's eyes saying "We offered them, we offered them". There's nothing given to our negotiating committee at the table to negotiate on.

*Back To the Studio*

SQEAKY: Okay. So what I'm hearing here is Kellogg's is salty that the union didn't violate whatever it's own internal processes are to put their whatever ridiculous lopsided-

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: -deal up for a vote. That's what I-

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: -hear when Kellogg's-

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: Just so we don't forget. You can get this from kelloggsnegotiation.com. And we'll also read the Kellogg's response when we reach-

SOURCE [1:02:50] Kellogg’s Propaganda website - https://kelloggsnegotiations.com/

MAKO: Uh kelloggsnegotations. I think you dropped the "s".

SQEAKY: I'm sorry. Did you say kelloggspro-

MAKO: Yes.

SQEAKY: -aganda.com?

MAKO: Myth five.


MAKO: "Kellogg's"-

SQEAKY: Myth five?

MAKO: -"cereal employees are forced to work seven days a week and significant amounts of overtime." This is going to be a fun one. They claim: "Fact: In 2020, Kellogg's cereal manufacturing employees worked an average of fifty-two to fifty-six hours per week. However, ninety percent of the time employees volunteered for the extra hours." They did, bold, ninety percent of the time volunteered, here.

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: Now they keep saying all this overtime is voluntary. Well the only reason that might be somewhat of a true statement is is that people sign up for "in early" instead of saying "over late", so they are signing to come up in early, but if they don't do that then they're comin' in late.


KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: So it's either way. If you- It's your choice if you're gonna come in early or stay late so they're signing up to come in early. So they're saying well they're volunteering for it. Well no, they're volunteerin' because it's either or.

SQEAKY: If they don't volunteer they get... voluntold.


*Back To the Studio*

SQEAKY: This was a... a common talking point with people.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: 'Cause it sucked up most people's entire life. The idea is that how overtime works for these people --and I know 'cause like twenty people told me---

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: -is-

MAKO: A lot of them did.

SQEAKY: -people have the option to volunteer for overtime, and if you don't it goes --because of rules the union has negotiated already-- in order from least senior to most senior, that least senior person who hasn't been forced into a certain amount of overtime is now forced into a certain amount of overtime.

MAKO: The choice that they have is "Do you go in early to give your extra hours" and you can sign up for that, that is the volunteer part, or if you don't do that then you're stuck with staying late.

SQEAKY: Because there are so many extra overtime hours that everybody, the full list of seniority- and they even made an example of one guy who had been there for fifty years was forced into working if they didn't volunteer for a time. So these people were volunteering just like you said to pick their time instead of being told a time.

MAKO: Yep. And they- And and most of them were making a deal out of going in early instead of late because they do have families, they have to think about their family's schedules like if they have to pick up their kids from school. Well, school gets out a particular time and they want to be off their job at that particular time. They don't want to stay late and not be able to pick up their kid, so a lot of them yeah, are volunteering to go in early, but the extra hours they work, that's... that's not- they're not volunteering-


MAKO: -the extra hours, they're volunteering when-


MAKO: -the extra hours happen.

SQEAKY: 'Cause if they didn't volunteer, they would be forced to go in at some time and it would likely be disruptive to their lives.

MAKO: Yeah.

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: People have lives outside of work, they have children, they have other things that they need to do, whether it's a funeral or even just self-care rest, uh... you know getting a day off you basically have to call out. There's... there's not really another option.

*Back To the Studio*

SQEAKY: And most people there weren't complaining about working a huge number of hours. Some even bragged, like "I worked eighty hours a week and that's how I made this much money." Whether > that's how you make a 120,000 dollars worth- or making thirty-five an hour, 'cause uh... having been a software contractor I made 120,000 dollars in a couple years. You do that by making seventy dollars an hour, so, half of seventy is thirty-five. So if you're making 120,000 dollars a year at thirty-five dollars an hour, you're working eighty hours a week.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: So these people are just getting volunteered for a ton of work. That's how much extra work is there. And most of them like it to a point.

MAKO: Yeah. And even the ones that don't like it, they did make a point of saying that's not what they're protesting.

SQEAKY: Yeah, they're protesting that the transitional people that are either coming in new, they didn't sign up. These newer workers didn't sign up for this ridiculous amount of work and a lot of them are leaving 'cause they're not getting the same pay as the people who've been there.

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE?: They're still here sixty to eighty hours a week, which is not our complaint. We knew comin' in here we work those hours and that's not our complaint. Our complaint is the way they're treating new people.

*Back To the Studio*

SQEAKY: I'm muddling this. The core of their protest is that the transitional people aren't making the same pay.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: And the lack of that pay is causing a... a high degree of turnover.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: Some of the people- I can't vouch for these numbers, but multiple people were giving me numbers between thirty and forty percent for turnover. That's like fast food turnover numbers.

MAKO: It's crazy. Especially when you contrast it. 'Cause they talked about the turnover rate like twenty, thirty years ago?

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: When I started, which is only like eight months before Mike, our turnover was no one left.

MIKE: We either died or retired.

*Mike laughs*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: We had a guy that retired at... Well they kinda forced him out, but he had almost fifty years of seniority here.

SQEAKY: Wow. That's... that's impressive. Fifty years!

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: That says a lot about the company at that time, y'know. If somebody's willing to stay here for fifty years. Like he said uh... When... when we started, the average seniority in the plant was twenty-four years.

*Back To the Studio*

SQEAKY: Not even. And it was like the turnover rate like ten years ago, right. The turnover- yeah.

MAKO: Yeah. But like before all of this transitional stuff started, they said that pretty much if you get hired there, you just don't quit.

SQEAKY: Yeah you either die or retire.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Right so it's... that- that's it. They liked working there, it was good pay, they were loyal to the company.

MAKO: And that's pretty much a dream situation for a lot of companies, like...


MAKO: Hire somebody once you have them for life, that's pretty sweet.

SQEAKY: Yeah you get to build up the... the skills you want for the employees. The employees liked it because it was stable. A lot of them were proud to work for Kellogg's. There was- There was a pride in them making a product that everyone recognized and that it was valuable, right? I mean-

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: There's so many good things to say about it even if you don't like the cartoon tiger, right, read the vitamin and minerals down the side of one of those boxes, it's... it's hard to be mad at breakfast cereal nowadays.

MAKO: Yeah. But they're finding a way.


MAKO: Myth number six: They claim- or they say: "We are threatening to send jobs to Mexico if the union does not agree to our proposals." They say: "Fact: We have not proposed moving any cereal volume or jobs outside of the US as a part of these negotiations."

*On Site Interview*

SQEAKY: Why are you guys out here protesting?

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: Well for uh, their rights, uh, two-tier system they want to implement, and um, take away some of our benefits, move some of our pounds to Mexico- they say it's not true but it is.

SQEAKY: When you said pounds you mean uh... pounds of food made here and that equates to jobs here.

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: Well pounds means there, so like we're- Say we do a million pounds a month. So if they take 300,000 pounds of that and move it to Mexico...

SQEAKY: That's jobs that go to Mexico.


*Back To the Studio*

SQEAKY: Now, there's also some videos on the kelloggsnegotiations website and-

*Sqeaky typing*

SQEAKY: Let me double check the email.

*More typing*

SQEAKY: Yeah just every place where Kellogg's officially comments on this, they always make sure to... in their sentence include the phrase "part of these negotiations" every single place you see it. That tells me that they are trying to be honest in a legal sense in case there's a lawsuit or something, but it also tells me at some point they did threaten to send the stuff- or to send work or volume from the factory to Mexico.

MAKO: Yeah that was another recurring thing we heard from the strikes.

SQEAKY: Yeah. Many strikers said this.

MAKO: Yeah so. Yet the words "these negotiations" provides enough wiggle room where maybe they're technically correct but they're not being really honest.

SQEAKY: Maybe that email they said they sent didn't include it, but uh... it's not too hard to just bring your employees in to... to a meeting and just say "Yeah, we're sending your jobs to Mexico" if you know that they're planning a strike say that the week before the strike. It's not hard. We don't know that that's what happened, but many of the strikers were under the impression that there were threats of sending the jobs to another country.

MAKO: Yep. Specifically by transferring tons of production to a different plant.

SQEAKY: Yeah. This plant made a- I want to say a ton of cereal but that's doing it a giant disservice. The unit that was being talked about was millions per month. Yeah, it's impressive.

MAKO: Yeah, quite a bit.

SQEAKY: And the factory's gigantic.

MAKO: Myth number seven. They say: "We are trying to force a two-tier system in these negotiations."

SQEAKY: What the fuck!

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: ...the company wants to make the two-tier system permanent.

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: ...two-tier system they want to implement.

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: ...they want a two-tier wage system.

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: ...two-tier system.

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: ...two-tier work scale.

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: ...they're lower tier wages.

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: ...two-tier system.

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: There's a two-tier wage system.

*On Site Interview*

KELLOGG'S WORKER ON STRIKE: ...and then any new highers would stay in that bottom tier.

*Back To the Studio*

SQEAKY: That's literally what they're trying to do. There's no way to look at the evidence that's oh- Oh God, I'm gonna have an aneurism.

MAKO: They claim the fact is...

*Sqeaky sighs*

MAKO: "The union agreed to a two-tier system in 2015 to help address rising labor costs which were out of sync with the market and the rest of the network. We paid a 15,000 dollar signing bonus to each hourly cereal employee in exchange for these changes. Now the union wants to go back on that agreement."

SQEAKY, angrily: It's not going back on that agreement-

MAKO: We covered that earlier-

SQEAKY: -the agreement expires!

MAKO: We covered that earlier.

SQEAKY: I'm still grinding my teeth now though!

MAKO: 'Kay. They go on to say "In these negotiations we are offering a compromise. A progression to the full wage rate for employees for zero to six years of service. All employees hired in 2015 would receive the top wage rate under our current co- proposals. We are proposing that employees hired from 2015 on keep the same healthcare they have now. This is the healthcare that all of our salaried employees have but these employees pay much lower employee contributions."

SQEAKY: I don't know how to reconcile some of these claims with some of what we heard because there were several employees that we interviewed that said that the transitional employees do not have health insurance or have to pay much more for health insurance.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: So there just is a contradiction here and I don't know who's right or wrong because we don't have evidence either way on this.

MAKO: Usually in health insurance, if you're paying less into it, like if you have a smaller premium, then you have a higher deductible. That just usually how that goes.

SQEAKY: So you're saying one way to reconcile this might be that the transitional workers have the same plan and name but a different set of options that result in a much higher deductible?

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: Okay. Th-

MAKO: That's one way to reconcile it.

SQEAKY: Okay but we don't know that.


SQEAKY: We don't have any particular evidence and there's no-

MAKO: We've not been given any pamphlets or paperwork showing exactly the nature the Kellogg's employee health plans are.

SQEAKY: Yeah so we simply don't know if Kellogg's is lying or the union is misinformed but looking at the rest of this I mean, we can pretty strongly say that the un- that the union is correct on most of these points.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: I have no reason to doubt them here.

MAKO: Okay. Myth number eight: "We are asking employees to give up holiday pay." Not a single person we spoke to mentioned holiday pay.

SQEAKY: Yeah yeah again, they were generally proud to work long hours.

MAKO: Yeah.

SQEAKY: They didn't like going in on holidays but uh... they did.

MAKO: Hmm.

SQEAKY: I think holiday pay just wasn't an issue. They were working so many hours they were like "What's a holiday?"

*Mako laughs*

MAKO: Something like that.

SQEAKY: Is today Christmas? It must be, look at the color of the cereal.

MAKO: The fact portion of this reads: "We have proposed that to earn holiday pay, an employee must work their scheduled shifts before and after the holiday. Our intent is to address significant absenteeism for those shifts which results in unplanned overtime for their fellow employees." So I don't-

SQEAKY: That just strikes me as a red herring. It just is unrelated.

MAKO: Yeah...

SQEAKY: Nobody complained about this.

MAKO: Yeah like... th-this isn't an issue, this is not why they're striking, I don't know where this is coming from, nor do I necessarily understand what their fabricated response... how that addresses the fabricated issue. I just- I don't know.

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: So having worked at more than a dozen places, right, I've been at places that are loyal to the employee, right, I'll say TD Ameritrade was loyal to the employees, Charles Schwab did not see to be. I've worked at many places that just were not loyal to the employee at all. Fuck you Cocentry. There's a few others. Some were like in the middle. Some felt kind of normal like Nationwide. Nationwide did not feel stil- or tilted one way or the other.

MAKO: Your experiences at --although they were brief-- at Woodmin? Right?

SQEAKY: Woodmin did a ton to try and make employees extremely loyal. Woodmin was a very weird place. Yeah they were way on the extreme end of treat employees well, try to make them employees for life. Uh, on my first month there, there were two different celebrations for people in their forties anniversary. One was their forty-seventh work anniversary there.

MAKO: Pretty good.

SQEAKY: Yah. So having seen different cultures, what the legacy workers that had beard lengths rivaling my own said reminded me of the places I've worked that instill loyalty in their employees and were loyal to their employees. The transitional workers and the workers who just said they hadn't been there very long but were legacies so if working at a place for six years doesn't make it very long, but what these people with less experience described perfectly lines up with my experience at shitty workplaces that weren't interested in long-term stability, that weren't interested in retaining employees, that viewed people more as cogs in a machine than people. So the only thing I can take from this is that something seriously changed. And I don't know what changed, but I can assert that something definitely changed between 2010 and now. Kellogg's is a different company than it used to be.

MAKO: Yup.

SQEAKY: And just every piece of evidence that we have, both of these responses, the wording from Kellogg's, wealth disparity, the pay bonuses...

MAKO: One of the people you spoke to said exactly those words even: it's a different company

SQEAKY: Yeah, yeah. There's no... there's no way to look at it that doesn't make us thing that.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: But we should also read the uh... response from Kellogg. Because I sent Kellogg a very simple email...

*Sqeaky types*

SQEAKY: I'll go ahead and pull it up real quick.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: I sent them an email that says uh... It was

To: investor.relations@kellogg.com
Subject: Omaha Strike.
The hosts of the Dysevidentia Podcast visited the Kellogg's plant in Omaha at 96th and F today. There were accusations that Kellogg's is attempting to create a system of structurally underpaying employees. This was among a few of several complaints. Do you have any thoughts or opinions you would like to share? Would you like to discuss this?

SQEAKY: Do you want to read the letter? Or do you want me to read the response?

MAKO: I'll read the... the Kellogg's response.

SQEAKY: Alright. Do you think I missed anything in that email 'cause I wanted to keep it simple I wanted to give them-

MAKO: Nah it's fine.

SQEAKY: -the open microphone.

MAKO: It's fine.


MAKO: So, Kellogg's response reads: "Hello. Thank you for reaching out. You may attribute the following to Kellogg's spokesperson Kris Bahner". Bawner? Banner?

SQEAKY: That's Kris "Kris" so I presume a woman?

MAKO: I say this every time: I'm bad at names. Maybe I butchered yours. Nothing personal, I'm sorry. But they go on to say: "The union agreed to a two-tiered system in 2015 to help address rising labor costs which were out of sync with the market and the rest of the network. We paid a 15,000 dollar signing bonus to each hourly cereal employee in exchange for these changes. Now the union wants to go back on that agreement."

*Sqeaky sighs*

MAKO: Yes that again. "Our comprehensive offer proposes a progression to the full wage rate of approximately thirty-five dollars an hour for employees with zero to six years of service. All employees hired in 2015 would receive the top wage rate under our current proposals. It also proposes employees hired from 2015 on keep the same healthcare they have now. This is the healthcare that all of our salaried employees have but these employees pay much lower employee contributions. Please take a look at our video media release and visit kelloggsnegotiations.com for more information. Best, Kellogg Media Relations". So this is almost a straight copy paste from what we saw on the...


MAKO: ...the myth and fact sheet.

SQEAKY: So some things I'd like to point out.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: They highlighted video media release as though it were a link, but it's not a link it's just blue text.

MAKO: What? What the fuck is this?!

SQEAKY: Yeah they didn't know how to make a link in Outlook. It's not a link over in my email either, but my web browser knows that kelloggsnegotiations.com is a link, so I'm able to right-click that on that and go to link- or just copy and paste it, right?

MAKO: I mean when you have like one long thing dot com, yeah that's a-


MAKO: -pretty dead giveaway.

SQEAKY: Yeah our notes program is able to realize that's a link, let me make that clickable for you. So, Kris, learn how to use your email client. Whatever you are, you're not IT savvy. You've mailed the corporate talking points and I'm sure you're going to get a huge bonus for throwing your fellow employees under the bus because they work for the union. Or for whatever reason you're doing it, but learn how to use your damn email program.

MAKO: Yep. But other things about the letter.

SQEAKY: So, our comprehensive offer proposes a progression to the full, in quotes, wage rate of approximately thirty-five dollars an hour for employees with zero to six years of service. What I heard this say is uh... This plan for progression? This is the thing that all the people were talking about. You have to be in for longer than the next contract length.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: So, if you have a plan to get through this for zero to six years of service, it's all gonna be six years and the contract's gonna be five years long. That's... it's just the kind of shit these companies put in contracts to fuck you over. I would know, I was a contractor over a dozen places. You read the contracts very carefully and say no when they try to fuck you 'cause everyone tries to fuck you.

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: Sorry I'm just rambling 'cause this is so obviously one-sided.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: When I went there that day I wasn't sure if I was gonna be pro-union or not. Kellogg's has made me as pro-union as you've heard me- as you've heard me talk. That's since-

MAKO: Well hopefully except for police unions.

SQEAKY: I... didn't have a strong opinion on police unions other than to know they occasionally protect murderers. I kind of ignored them after the... Derek Chauvin was found guilty 'cause I'm like "Aw cool, they didn't protect the... George Floyd's murderer." I just kind of forgot about them.

MAKO: Well if it weren't for the direct video evidence, Chauvin would have walked.

SQEAKY: The phrasing that made me groan "Now the union wants to go back on that agreement."

MAKO: Yup that again.

SQEAKY: C- can you just- Kellogg's, can you unambiguously say that the contract isn't expiring? Say that. Say that. You never said the contract wasn't expiring. You keep using these... You keep using the same words I would use in a game of Magic The Gathering when somebody attacked me and said they wouldn't. Like you're going back on your agreement mmmmwawawaawma. The fuck is this?

MAKO: Them trying to spin it in a way where they can get sympathy from other people.

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: You're absolutely correct, but we shouldn't be giving sympathy to people making 5,000,000 dollars a year.


SQEAKY: They can buy some fucking sympathy. Actually, that's what this is isn't it? This is an attempt to buy sympathy. Literally buy sympathy.

MAKO: The whole- This whole website is, yes.

*Sqeaky sighs*

SQEAKY: Who is making this website? We should contact that person and be like "You're a bad person." For anyone listening, don't threaten or abuse or harass them, but if you can get a hold of them and politely- y'know, inform them that they're hurting America. Let 'em know. If they're Russian, congratulate them on doing a good job. If they're American uh... call them a fucking traitor. If they're a billionaire I guess they're not a traitor 'cause they're defending other billionaires but that's not how this works. I don't know, I'm just rambling again.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: Do you have anything else you wanna say on this?

MAKO: Um... On Kellogg specifically? I think we covered it. How much did we cover about John Deere?

SQEAKY: Just enough to highlight that it's not a Kellogg specific thing. We delve into... into Kellogg's because they're here in town and we can dig deeper.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: We can get first hand accounts which is not ideal evidence but it's the best evidence we can get.

MAKO: Yep.

SQEAKY: And then we highlighted a couple other places that are striking because it looks similar from the outside. And if it looks similar from the outside, we either have the option to spend a ton of effort to dig in, or kind of assume that categorically it's similar. But John Deere has a two-tier pay system, they have executives making almost the exact same amounts of money, y'know five to fifteen million dollars a piece, they have salaried employees that tried to go work on the factory floors, they have extra workers coming in to man the equipment, they have goofy anecdotes of failing to produce, and they both have employees that superficially look like they're well paid but are really being exploited. And again, we should stand with these people, 'cause if we can get them out of exploitation, then there's more system, more structure, more help for getting other people, like any of us who are being exploited out of it too.

MAKO: Mhm.

SQEAKY: I'm rambling again, man.

*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: You know the second half of that line was really good, but the first half I could hear you cringing. I could see you cringing, too. So I know you were cringing.

*Mako laughs like an old man*

SQEAKY: What? How about I do my line again and you do yours again?

*Mako sighs*

MAKO: I was not mentally prepared, give me a moment.

*Mako laughs heartily*

*Sqeaky sighs*

*Mako sighs*

MAKO: God... Okay, yeah go for it.

SQEAKY: Occasional car horns in background.

*Guitar riff*

SQEAKY: Thanks to Qeldaar for video and graphics work and thanks to AlphaWolf294 for transcription. Thanks to all of our patreon supporters. Our supporters at the Evidence Investigator level or higher include Jarrod, DuktTape, Qeldaar, and Lazori78. Thanks for listening and don't forget to like, subscribe, leave a review, or tell a friend. Copyright 2021 BlackTopp Studios Inc. Intro music was Slow by PitX, used with permission.

© 2021 Copyright BlackTopp Studios Inc