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Like Frito-Lay, Nabisco, John Deere, and Heaven Hill Distillery, cereal giant Kellogg’s has seen consumer demand skyrocket during the pandemic, reporting profits of $1.25 billion in 2020. To meet this demand, many workers in Kellogg’s plants around the US report pulling 12-16-hour shifts seven days a week, leaving little time for anything outside of work beyond sleep. But the creation of a two-tier employment system in 2015 has meant that newer employees in the lower “transitional tier” are earning significantly less than their coworkers for doing the same work. Demanding that the company raise the floor for all of its employees, Kellogg’s plant workers in Nebraska, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee have been on strike since Oct. 5.

In this special video edition of Working People, TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez discusses the ongoing strike with Dan Osborn, who has worked at the Omaha, Nebraska, plant for 18 years and currently serves as president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), Local 50G.


Maximillian Alvarez:        All right. Well, welcome everyone to another episode of Working People, a podcast about the lives, jobs, dreams, and struggles of the working class today. Brought to you in partnership with In These Times magazine and The Real News Network, produced by Jules Taylor, and supported entirely by listeners like you. So, we’ve got a special and urgent Working People minicast for you all today. And we’re actually recording a video version of this as well, which will run over at The Real News Network YouTube channel. So if you want to check out the video version, definitely subscribe and go watch there.

But as y’all may have heard, Kellogg’s workers at the cereal manufacturing giant, Kellogg’s, have gone on strike at plants in Battle Creek, Michigan, as well as Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Omaha, Nebraska; and Memphis. And workers with the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union hit the picket line last week. And we are here to get an update about what’s going on with this strike, to get an up-to-date report from one of these picket lines, and let you all know what’s going on and how you all can show support. And so I wanted to introduce you all to our guest today. Dan, why don’t you introduce yourself to the good folks?

Dan Osborn:            My name is Dan Osborn. I am BCTGM Local 50G president here in Omaha, Nebraska.

Maximillian Alvarez:        Well, Dan, thank you so much for making time to sit down and chat with me. I know you’ve got a lot going on. You’ve been on the picket line all weekend and you are coordinating shifts for folks who are on the line 24 hours a day. So again, really, really appreciate you taking the time to do this, man, and–

Dan Osborn:            Well, thank you for having me on, I appreciate it.

Maximillian Alvarez:        Of course. And I figured we could start by maybe turning things over to you and asking if you could give listeners and viewers a bit of a breakdown of kind of what led to this strike. I suppose it’s obviously something that is affecting plants across the US. And so if you could give us kind of a general picture and background of the strike, and then maybe talk a bit about how things have been going over there at your local in Omaha.

Dan Osborn:            Yeah, for sure. There’s 1,400 roughly around the country that are with the Kellogg’s company that are in our bargaining unit, the union employees. There’s 1,400 souls on strike right now, fighting for their lives, their livelihoods, I should say. A little bit of background, I’ll get started. We have to backtrack to 2015, is where we took concessions with the company to implement a two-tier wage system. In 2015, cereal sales were declining, so we took concessions in that contract where we implemented the two-tier wage system that looked like…

At maximum we agreed to have 30% of our union body on that lower tier. They call those the lower tier ‘transitionals’ and they call us ‘regular full time’ on the upper tier. So in 2015, when this was implemented, they threatened to close a plant on us if we did not ratify the contract, which was, they were going to close our Memphis, Tennessee, plant. So we took the concessions, we didn’t want that to happen. And that got voted in, in 2016. 10% of our membership–this was all negotiated–10% of our membership was on the lower tier as the transitionals in 2016, 20%–no, wait. 2016, 10%, 2017, 20%, 2018, we reached the 30% cap.

Those folks were on the lower-tier system. Since then, we’ve had a 40% turnover rate in that lower tier. So they’re having a very difficult time retaining people on that lower tier, because if you don’t get paid and if you don’t get the benefits, people don’t want to keep that job. Prior to that, 2015, nobody ever left Kellogg’s. For example, when I got hired in, I’ve been with the company for 18 years, and in 2004, when I got on, there was about 600 people all applied for six jobs. And I was one of them that got hired on at that time, you know. So times are way different. We’re having a labor shortage in the country, and so that’s where we’re at right now. Fast forward to 2020, when that 2015 to 2020 contract expired, the union and the company could not come to terms on our contract.

They were threatening our insurance and cost of living wages, which is… Cost of living, I’ll break that down for you real quick. That’s our only source of wage increases. And basically what it does is it keeps us up with inflation. They use an index and they go off of that, and that’s capped at a $1.80. So, every time a contract is ratified every four to five years, that $1.80 is rolled into our base wage. So that’s our source of wages. So that barely keeps us even with inflation. They want to eliminate that. We were not on board with that as far. And also they want to eliminate our pensions. So in 2020, we came to an impasse at negotiations. The union and the company both agreed that we would work under an extension of that contract for one year.

So we did, we worked under that contract in 2020, up until 2021 when, Oct. 4 at midnight, that contract expired. And we were not able to come to an agreement again. Our proposal, the biggest thing that’s hanging us up right now is, our proposal for the union side was to eliminate the language of that two-tier wage system and bring all those folks who, the 30% of our employees, up to the regular full-time status. The company didn’t want to hear that. Their proposal was to eliminate the 30% cap and make it so that regular full-time or those transitional employees would be a permanent system. So they would have no course to transition into the upper tier. So they are about $12 an hour less than us. They pay higher insurance premiums, they get less vacation, they get less vacation pay.

So essentially the company’s proposal is to take the 70% that is the regular full-time, and bring them down to the lower tier. That’s no good for anybody, and they also wanted to eliminate our pensions and that cost of living that I talked about. So that’s where we’re at right now. We couldn’t come to an agreement. I wanted to talk about a little bit, and interrupt me if I’m talking too much here if you want to jump in, but the company during negotiations, it was a two-week negotiation. And at the table, the total time spent at the table was 10 hours out of two weeks.

Maximillian Alvarez:        Wow.

Dan Osborn:            So, yeah, and that was because they were not willing to move off of that 30% cap. Our initial proposal, like I said, was to eliminate the transitional language. We came back with a counterproposal saying that we would go ahead and do a four-year program where after four years the transitional program would go away and we would make all the lower tier regular full-time employees. They didn’t want to hear it, so they would not move off of their proposal. So that’s where negotiations broke down at that point.

So that’s where we’re at. And that’s why we’re standing out on our lines for equalization of wages, and for our future employees at Kellogg’s. I want my kids to work there someday, so it’s been a good job. It’s afforded me up to this point to be a homeowner, to have a reliable source of transportation. My wife was able to stay home with our kids when they were little. So kind of sounds a little bit like the American dream right, where I sacrificed over the years time. And I wanted to touch also on–the company came out with the statement in the media that the average Kellogg employee makes $120,000 a year. I believe that’s a little bit inflated, maybe a lot of it inflated.

I don’t know that they’re not including our benefits in that figure. They just put that out there. And so a lot of people are like, well, shoot, I’ll go make cereal for 120 grand a year. What’s the big problem there? Well, the big problem is this: Are there people who made it to $120,000 at Kellogg’s? Absolutely. But those people who have made $120,000 are putting in over 3,000 hours a year. They are working seven days a week, they’re working 12 hours a day, in some of our other plants they’re working 16 hours a day, to make those wages. And throughout COVID, everybody in that plant has been working those hours. So it’s not like we’re working the 40 hours a week and having weekends off and holidays off and we’re spending time with our family for that $120,000. So yeah, it’s…

Maximillian Alvarez:        Well, and that correlates to something that I really want to underline for viewers and listeners. You heard Dan mention that when the union took these concessions in their last contract, cereal sales had declined. And so, part of the calculation of accepting this two-tiered employment system was to both keep workers employed and stave off fears that jobs would be sent to Mexico or Canada. This is a constant threat for plant workers at Kellogg’s here in the United States. And so Working People listeners may hear echoes of things like the UAW taking kind of similar concessions in the wake of the great recession. When the automotive industry was hurting quite a bit, the union accepted this two-tier wage system; tightened belts, took more concessions to get through the recession, only to be rewarded years later when companies like GM were making record profits, by plant closures and more layoffs.

And so, I wanted to mention that because Michael Sainato–who, listeners will know, a brilliant labor reporter at The Guardian–has this important detail in his write up of the Kellogg strike, which reads: “Kellogg’s reported a profit of $1.25 billion in 2020. Cereal sales grew more than 8% in 2020 due to increased demand during the pandemic. The company approved a stock buyback program in February of 2020 through December 2022 of $1.5 billion. The CEO of Kellogg’s, Steve Cahillane, received around $11.6 million in total compensation in 2020.” And so I mentioned that because this is not the same situation that workers in the union and Kellogg’s were in, in the last contract negotiations. This is a trend that we’ve seen in a lot of, especially consumer product areas in this country. We’re hearing about the so-called labor shortage around the country, and we tend to think of that as like mom-and-pop businesses who are struggling to find people to work so that they can survive.

But in fact, as we have reported on through Working People many times this year, whether we’re talking about Frito-Lay, whether we’re talking about Heaven Hill Distillery in Kentucky, whether we’re talking about Amazon, a lot of these big corporations are actually experiencing record demand and record productivity, and yet they are still demanding more concessions from their workers. They’re trying to squeeze as much labor out of their workforce as possible to rake in as much profit as possible. And so Dan, I wanted to ask, building on that, you mentioned the fact that to meet that increased demand, workers at Kellogg’s have been working a crazy amount. Like we’re hearing this again in so many other industries where so many full time workers are being pushed into mandatory overtime, some like that.

But I mean, this was the case at Warrior Met Coal, it was the case at Frito-Lay, it’s the case at Kellogg’s. It is something that we’re seeing in industries around the country. And I think it’s something that folks who are maybe just hearing about this story really kind of latch onto when they hear you say, my God, people at Kellogg’s who are making the cereal are working 12 hours a day, seven days a week, sometimes for like a hundred days on end without any sort of break. That seems like it would be kind of the central issue. But in fact, the real sort of point of contention here is that sort of two-tiered wage system. So I guess I wanted to ask if you could maybe unpack that a little bit more for folks who are maybe unfamiliar with how that type of tiered system works, why it’s a threat, and why for the union it is worth longtime union members to hit the picket line, to put everything on the line for this second tier of workers.

Dan Osborn:            Yeah. Before I get into that, you mentioned Steve Cahillane and his 11.4, I believe you said million, dollars in 2020. Well, in 2020 into 2021, he, as well as all the high-level executives, they’ve taken a 20% increase in their compensation. So they continue to take higher levels of compensation and record profits off of our backs. And so we were blown away when this happened. We really didn’t see this coming. I mean, we prepared. You’re always prepared during a contract, but we really didn’t see this happening. And I’ve talked to multiple reporters from the New York Times, the Washington Post, Huffington Post, NBC, ABC. I’ve talked to everybody who will listen to our cause. And a lot of the question they ask is why now? Why in a climate where they’re making money and everybody’s making money and there’s a shortage of workers.

And no matter how I wrap my head around it, it goes back to corporate greed. I know that’s a buzzword that gets thrown around, but that’s the only thing I can land on as far as that goes. But to go to your two-tier wage system, we have the upper tier and the lower tier, we’re all doing the exact same work. And we’re working side by side. they’re making $12 an hour less. Like I said, I already talked about the compensation that they don’t receive, that we receive. It creates a division and it creates animosity. And it’s completely understandable, you know.

So when you’re at work on a daily basis and we’re all putting in–this is a 24-hour operation. So we have folks who are working second shift and overnights and third shift. And so they’re all doing this shift work, they’re all putting in their 12-hour days. For example, I work the 7:00 to 3:00 shift because it’s all seniority-based at the plant. And so I have enough time in to make it to the day shift, but I work 7:00 to 3:00. It’s forced overtime. So the company can come up to me at any point up to 3:00 and tell me I have to work to 7:00. So of course you said, yep, I’ll work till 7:00. And any time up to that 7:00PM, they can tell me I have to come back in at 3:00AM.

So that’s eight hours off between shifts. So that’s the kind of hours that we’re working, and we’re doing it seven days a week. But that’s not what we’re complaining about. That’s not our issue on this contract. That’s just something that should be noted with the American people that really don’t understand, especially with the company putting out the $120,000 a year. It’s something I hope people understand that’s what we’re dealing with. But like I said, we’re not complaining about that. I want to go back a little bit into 2019 leading up to the contract. Kellogg’s did not hire one single person in 2019, and same going all the way back to 2014, leading up to the 2015 contract. That’s their MO. They do that in order to shorten our numbers. So we have to do forced overtime.

Because, like I said, when they tell me I have to work till 7:00PM, that’s to cover for a vacancy. And when I have to come in at 3:00, that’s to cover for a night shift vacancy. And so the more vacancies they can create, the more forced overtime, and they try to wear people down in hopes that in the upcoming contract, we’re more apt to give concessions. I believe that’s their mindset behind that. So in 2019, they didn’t hire anybody, so we were short. Going up to the 2020 contract at midnight, before it expired, we had 39 people retire that were eligible.

Out of those 39 people, I’ll bet you 30 of them didn’t want to retire. They weren’t ready. A lot of them wanted to work five more years for whatever reasons that benefited their families or whatnot. So we had 39 people walk out. So we were already, I believe we were 70 bids short. Those are vacancies that I talked about, and then plus the 39 people, and then boom, the pandemic hits. And during the pandemic, we’re frontline workers, and essential workers. We’re making food for the country during the pandemic. Everybody’s stocking their shelves with our product.

We were almost a hundred people short at one point due to actually having COVID or COVID policies through the company, contact tracing, you got to be out. We don’t want to get everybody sick type of thing. So we were that many people short. So our plant did not shut down. We ran through COVID. Meanwhile, the company’s making record profits off of our backs and off of our labor, which we never complained about once. So the issue at hand–and I want to reiterate again–is we are not complaining about the hours that we worked, but we want to be compensated. We are not asking for raises, the upper-tier wage, the regular full-time people. We’re not asking for anything on this contract. Anything above and beyond what we are already getting. So we–we’re asking for the transitional people to work alongside us and get the same wage that we are.

Maximillian Alvarez:        And even just that name, or the name that this tier of workers goes by, like the transitional workers. Like you described, the intention is that that tier of workers will be transitioned into the full-time first tier.

Dan Osborn:            Sure. Yeah. That’s the definition of transition, to move on to the next level.

Maximillian Alvarez:        But instead it feels like how the company has interpreted that is in a very Amazon-based model where you just kind of churn out bodies and cycle through people with high turnover of people in that tier. I mean, Amazon has, like, 150% turnover, which means that like–

Dan Osborn:            Wow.

Maximillian Alvarez:        …By the start of a year, I think that was reported by the New York Times. Like if you start a year at a certain fulfillment center, that 150% means that by the end of the year, you’re going to have, like, none of the people who started working there. And this is something we reported on in Bessemer, where even Amazon was constantly touting its benefits, and so on and so forth, as an incentive for people to stay working there. And it’s like, well, people don’t work there long enough for those benefits to actually mean anything because you push them so hard that they burn out.

Dan Osborn:            Sure.

Maximillian Alvarez:        And so, yeah. It does feel like a kind of twisted interpretation of that transitional worker, where workers in that tier are really being funneled in and cycled out without any realistic chance of making it to that upper tier of union work. And I think it’s really significant and really something for viewers and listeners to understand, that workers with the union who are in that kind of first tier, who are really going to the mat for their coworkers who are in that second tier, so that they don’t get left by the wayside, that is a real kind of lesson in solidarity and really kind of important, I think, struggle for folks to keep their eye on. And in that vein, Dan, I know I can’t keep you too long, but I wanted to maybe zero in on the picket line there in Omaha and ask if you could let viewers and listeners know what the vibe is over there with you and your union siblings, what kind of support you’re getting from the community. Maybe what Kellogg’s response has been. And then we’ll kind of round things out by asking what listeners and viewers can do to show support.

Dan Osborn:            Okay. Yeah. So we have six gates that we’re picketing and we have a change over on our gates every four hours. So people are doing four-hour shifts. Spirits are high. As far as them wearing us out on the picket line, like I said, we’re used to working. We work, that’s what we do, we’re workers. And so it’s no different whether we’re making cereal for them or standing out on our picket lines, we’re going to work for our cause right now. And people are standing strong. Spirits are high, the outpour from the community has been amazing as far as dropping off food, and bottled water, and constant traffic going by and honking, and people stopping and giving us support and telling us their stories of where they come from.

We haven’t had a strike at Kellogg’s since 1972. I wasn’t even born yet. Thankfully, I’m not that old… yet. I couldn’t even tell you about that strike. Obviously it was successful, because BCTGM is still in the plant. But no, this is all new to us. Obviously we’re hurt by this. I mean, hurt in the fact that we didn’t see it coming. We can talk about the company making money, and at a time where it seems like the economy’s taken off again, especially in the food industry, you know. So I go around and I talk to people and yeah, people are definitely angry, as well. It’s a whole cocktail of emotions that we’re all dealing with.

One of the commonalities that I see when I talk to everybody is nobody’s sleeping very well right now. This is difficult. It’s difficult to sleep through this and shut your brain off, to be able to get some rest, because it’s hard to understand where this is coming from on the corporate level. With that, I wanted to state in negotiations in 2020, there was, I’m not sure if he’s an executive, but he was on the negotiating team for the company. He stated that they’re willing to spend $10 million a day to keep us out on the street. $10 million a day. So our proposals, at face value, they said the company says that that would cost them $60 million a year, but that’s not negotiated proposals yet, though.

I mean, you always meet in the middle. So let’s even take half that number. That’s $30 million, maybe to get rid of that two-tiered wage system or however we meet in the middle on things. So even let’s just take the $60 million at face value for our proposals. That’s six days of $10 million a day. I’m not a mathematician. It would take 365 days if they would just agree to a contract. So they don’t want contracted labor in is the bottom line. Why? I don’t know. They want people making $12 to $15 an hour in the plants. They want high turnover rate. I don’t know. This is America’s food source.

Why would you want that? But Kellogg’s says that we are at the highest industry standard as far as wages and benefits go. And they try to actually shame us with that fact, which is interesting to me, because I would think that if you’re at the highest on the industry standard, that’s something you should be proud of, not ashamed of. They want to bring us down to the rest of the industry, when I think the rest of the industry should be brought up to where we’re at, and pay their employees and treat their employees like Kellogg’s has up until this point. So that goes back to, I forgot your original question. I’m getting on a tangent here.

Maximillian Alvarez:        Go man. And this is all great. It’s all important. It’s all–

Dan Osborn:            I actually want to read you something from a Bloomberg transcript. And this is the CEO of Kellogg’s addressing stockholders. He states first, “There is no doubt in our minds that to deploy a balanced growth,” which–that’s their, like, new tactic. That’s their new initiative, “is as appropriate and effective as ever. It had us on the right path pre-COVID. It allowed us to flex with the changing business environment during COVID, and it has us in position to sustain balance, financial delivery after COVID finally passes.” So right there, he states that they are prepared and don’t feel any danger from COVID passing and cereal sales dropping again. I feel like that’s important to get out, because they’re asking us to take concessions right now at a time where they’re profitable, and obviously they have no details as far as them becoming unprofitable.

I also wanted to give a shout out to a company called Anoto Global. What they’ve done for us is they’re an analytical company, and they’ve done research as far as our movement goes in the country, as far as the American people go. And right now we are over 70% approval rating with the company. They’re siding with us, they’re sympathizing with our cause, our word, and our message is getting out there. And this company’s been great to us as far as that. And from what they told me also during their analytics, is 12% of the American people are sympathizing with the company, and that 12%’s being driven by their news release of $120,000 per year, which we’ve already discussed where that comes from. I’ve also been told by Anoto Global that the Kellogg’s strategy right now is to not put anything out in the media in hopes that this goes away.

So they’re basically hoping the next Michael Jackson death or the next major news thing’s just going to put a squash to this. And the American people are going to forget about what’s going on and the struggles with the blue-collar workers in this country. And this is not just Kellogg’s. The outcome of this strike is going to affect way more than the 1,400 workers that are out right now. I mean, Kellogg’s is a giant. It’s one of the household names that everybody knows. It’s up there with Pepsi and Coke, you know. So, the outcome of this is going to mean a lot to the American people, to workers. And not just union workers. If our wages go up, that’s traditional with unions. If our numbers go up, their numbers go up, too. So that’s the way it affects it. So that’s that. I just wanted to get that out there as well.

Maximillian Alvarez:        No I mean, I think it’s really important, man. I mean, you’ve given us a really nice overview of the strike, and I’ve been seeing and hearing quite a lot of folks vocalize support for Kellogg’s workers. And I think you make a really important point. This is a strategy from Kellogg’s, to Warrior Met Coal, to the nurses in Massachusetts at St. Vincent’s Hospital, been on strike since May, and their parent company has been doing the same. It’s been trying to wait them out and hope that the country forgets and we all need to play a role there. We can’t forget about these struggles. We can’t forget about our fellow workers who have been holding the line for so long. We need to keep that support up. We need to bring that support to new strikes that are emerging and try to kind of build solidarity across those respective struggles, however we can.

Dan Osborn:            Absolutely.

Maximillian Alvarez:        And on top of that point, I would say this was something that came up when I spoke to Cheri Renfro, a worker at Frito-Lay back in July, where she said, look, I’m not telling people what to do. I’m just saying that we take great pride in our work. We make a really good product that’s up to the union standard. If we’re not in there making that product and it’s instead untrained scabs who are doing that, I would be wary about eating the chips that come out. And so I’ll say it and won’t make Dan say it, but I would say that I would be wary of the Kellogg’s products that are coming out that are being made by scabs and not by folks who have–

Dan Osborn:            Can I talk to that?

Maximillian Alvarez:        Yeah. Go for it.

Dan Osborn:            Can I talk to that for a second? Yeah, in 2013 our Memphis brothers and sisters were locked out from a supplemental contract, I don’t know if you recall that. They spent 10 months out on the street, and they brought in scab workers to run their lines. They only got up to 30% capacity of what our union brothers and sisters were making up after 10 months. But if you remember, in 2014, there was a video that came out on YouTube, and it was one of those scab workers, employees, taking out his member and urinating on the [Rice Krispies] conveyor belt. So he filmed himself urinating on the [Rice Krispies] and then he panned over and showed the Kellogg’s logo, and that food actually got consumed. So these are the type of people that are going to be coming in here and running our lines and supplying our food for our nation. And I hope everybody that watches this spreads the word that this is not good, not good at all.

Maximillian Alvarez:        Not good at all, man. And on that note, I wanted to, again, thank you so much for joining me, man–

Dan Osborn:            Thank you, Max.

Maximillian Alvarez:        …And say that we’re sending nothing but love and solidarity to you, to everyone on the line there in Omaha, and over there in Memphis, and Pennsylvania, and Battle Creek, Michigan. And I wanted to round out by asking you what viewers and listeners can do to show support.

Dan Osborn:            Sure. Absolutely. It’s kind of two things. The first thing that people should be doing is, when they’re in the supermarkets and they’re purchasing their products, is to do a quick Google search and get online. It’s trending on every social media site there is. Twitter is probably one of the major ones right now, but there’s a list of all the Kellogg’s subsidiaries, everything that they own. Just don’t purchase those things. It’s not a difficult thing to do. It takes five minutes of your time. And when you’re at the store, be like, okay, I’m not going to purchase this, especially when it comes to the ready-to-eat cereal. There’s plenty of other guys out there that have cereal on the shelves. Just don’t purchase it. Boycott, I suppose is the word, I don’t particularly care for that word, but that’s it. Don’t buy those things.

Don’t support a company that’s not willing to support its workers. In the words of W.K. Kellogg, the founder of the company, and we would not be in the situation if that gentleman was still alive, but his quote is “I will invest my money in people.” That’s a quote from him. And obviously that message has been lost on the corporate world. But the second thing is to support our people and our cause and our fight individually, to help us out as individuals, as we go through our struggles of not earning any money, our medical benefits getting cut. We have people, I spoke with a guy out on the line last night, whose wife just got diagnosed with cancer, and he doesn’t know what to do, you know. I mean, these are the real part, the human aspect of what we’re dealing with.

And it’s hard. It was hard to talk to that guy and try to comfort him and let him know, hey, this is going to be all right. But if you really wanted to help us out, you could go to Or if that’s too much, you could go to our website, which is, and you can click on the ‘donate here’ link, and that money is going to go directly to our workers and the guys out, guys and our brothers and sisters out on the strike line, and helping to support their families during this tough time.

Maximillian Alvarez:        Well, Dan, thank you so much for joining me, man. I really appreciate it, again. We’re sending nothing but love and solidarity to you and everyone out there on the line in Omaha and around the country. For everyone watching, this is Maximillian Alvarez at The Real News Network. Before you go, please head over to so we can keep bringing you important conversations and coverage, just like this. Thank you so much for watching.

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Ten years ago, I was working 12-hour days as a warehouse temp in Southern California while my family, like millions of others, struggled to stay afloat in the wake of the Great Recession. Eventually, we lost everything, including the house I grew up in. It was in the years that followed, when hope seemed irrevocably lost and help from above seemed impossibly absent, that I realized the life-saving importance of everyday workers coming together, sharing our stories, showing our scars, and reminding one another that we are not alone. Since then, from starting the podcast Working People—where I interview workers about their lives, jobs, dreams, and struggles—to working as Associate Editor at the Chronicle Review and now as Editor-in-Chief at The Real News Network, I have dedicated my life to lifting up the voices and honoring the humanity of our fellow workers.
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