BATTLE CREEK, MICH. — The Kellogg Co. on Dec. 21 announced its employees have ratified a tentative agreement for a master contract at four US cereal plants, ending a strike that began Oct. 5. The five-year contract covers about 1,400 representatives of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) International Union. Employees will return to work Dec. 27 at the plants in Battle Creek; Omaha, Neb.; Lancaster, Pa.; and Memphis, Tenn.

“We are pleased that we have reached an agreement that brings our cereal employees back to work,” said Steve Cahillane, chairman and chief executive officer of Battle Creek-based Kellogg. “We look forward to their return and continuing to produce our beloved cereal brands for our customers and consumers.”

Union members on Dec. 7 rejected an initial tentative agreement between Kellogg and the BCTGM, at which point Kellogg said it would begin hiring replacement workers for the striking union members.

Kellogg on Dec. 16 reached a second tentative agreement with the union It included wage increases and cost-of-living adjustments starting the first year of the contract; a defined path for employees to move from “transitional” to “legacy;” expanded health care benefits; increased pension benefits; and no concessions from the union, according to Kellogg.

Highlights of the agreement, according to the BCTGM, were no permanent two-tier system, a clear path to regular full-time employment, no plant shutdowns through October 2026, an increase in the pension multiplier and maintenance of cost-of-living raises.

“Our striking members at Kellogg’s ready-to-eat cereal production facilities courageously stood their ground and sacrificed so much in order to achieve a fair contract,” said Anthony Shelton, president of the BCTGM. “This agreement makes gains and does not include any concessions.”

Kellogg’s stock price on the New York Stock Exchange was trading at $62.81 per share early in the afternoon on Dec. 21 after closing at $64.37 on Dec. 20. The price closed at $64.02 per share on Oct. 5.