Elected officials and friends of 226 locked-out Kellogg's employees raised an enthusiastic voice of determination Wednesday night, vowing to walk the picket lines outside the plant until they can return to work.
Kevin Bradshaw, president of Bakery Confectionary Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 252G, said he drew inspiration and encouragement from the outpouring of support shown by the "Memphis community."
"Although our numbers were small, tonight's rally means everything to those of us who are locked out of our jobs," Bradshaw said.
"Some local officials came out and expressed their support for our union. City Councilman Lee Harris and Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy not only offered encouragement, but they set up a tent to camp out all night with us in a show of unity. It means a lot when it seems that Kellogg's has not been sensitive to our situation."
Memphis Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) President, the Rev. Dwight Montgomery, opened the rally with prayer and his own expressions of support. City Council members Janis Fullilove and Myron Lowery were also on hand for brief remarks.
A Thursday night (Feb. 20th) meeting has been called by SCLC to bring employees and their supporters together for a time of "inspiration and strategy."
"Tonight's rally was good," said Montgomery. "But tomorrow night is when we really gear up to reinforce the boycott of Kellogg's products. We want employees to know that they are not standing alone in this effort. Kellogg's has not heard them so far. Let's meddle with that bottom line some and see if they can hear a little bit better."
Montgomery said Memphians, Shelby Countians and consumers all over the country should refrain from purchasing any product bearing the Kellogg's brand.
"I love Frosted Flakes, and I love 'Tony the Tiger,' but I've replaced them with Post Sugar Crisp and 'Sugar Bear.' Right is just right, and noone's family should be going hungry or suffering in any way because of an unjust job lockout. It is unacceptable, and we're going to fight it together."
The "Solidarity Rally" is slated for Cane Creek Baptist Church, 1785 Elvis Presley Boulevard, at 6:30 p.m. with host pastor, the Rev. Leonard Dawson. For additional information, call Rev. Montgomery at 901-488-4798.