Cereal company Kellogg’s has been hit with a strike among a wave of labor movements across the U.S. following years of stagnating wages and the worsening of working conditions. During the pandemic, Kellogg’s workers had their pay cut even though company profits continued to increase and have been forced to work vast amounts of overtime to keep the company going, working regular 12-hour shifts and some going months without a single day off.

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As a result, up to 1,400 of the company’s workers are now on strike, with people across the nation signaling their support and encouraging boycotts of Kellogg’s products. It’s been going well for the workers, but a single photo from the picket line in Omaha, Nebraska is being held up as a symbol of worker strength and bringing renewed attention to their fight for reasonable working conditions.

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The identity of the worker in the photo is unknown, but the grainy image of them standing in the downpour at night among a gaggle of empty camping chairs and holding up a single strike sign has entranced the internet and become a symbol of resilience and strength. Though the warming fires have been extinguished by the rain, the worker holds down the picket line and continues to fight for what they deserve.

Some internet jokesters have also expressed that they found the photo to be a bit unnerving, but the general vibe is that no one is going to mess with that person.

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Kellogg’s strikers are responding to an intense slashing of wages and benefits over the past two years, arguing that the company used the pandemic as an excuse to cut hourly wages by up to $13 per hour while taking away pensions, healthcare benefits, and retirement plans. Additionally, the workers say that Kellogg’s has repeatedly threatened to move their operations to Mexico where they will not be subject to labor protections or the U.S. health and safety standards.

Meanwhile, Kellogg’s executives increased their salaries during the pandemic by up to 20 percent, shattering the illusion that the corporation was on the verge of destruction. All the strikers are asking for is for things to return to the way things used to be pre-pandemic.

“What we’re standing for is for Kellogg’s to continue to be fair to employees because of the work we do and the money that we make them,” said union Vice President Kevin Bradshaw. “And we just want to keep things the way they are, to be able to pay people what they deserve the paid. Because what they’re asking for is just ludicrous.”

To many average Americans, this sounds more than reasonable, and they’re ready to stand with strikers who clearly mean business.

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*First Published: October 14, 2021, 10:10 am