(WMC) - After a nine-month lockout in Memphis, a judge ordered Kellogg Company to put more than 200 people back to work.
According to a meeting held Sunday afternoon, employees will return to work August 11, if each individual employee chooses to accept the invitation.
U.S. District Judge Samuel "Hardy" Mays agrees with federal labor officials, who say Kellogg was in a violation of labor laws.
National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against Kellogg and the Memphis cereal production facility in March; in part, it says the company made unlawful demands and threatened the lockout during contract negotiations.
The contract negotiations failed between Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) and Kellogg in October.
Kellogg wanted cheaper labor with "alternative" schedules, and union workers say they weren't given much of a choice: they either had to agree to the proposals or be locked out.
The breakdown led to about 220 Mid-South employees out of work without pay and on the picket line.
Locked-out workers have asked others to boycott Kellogg's products until a resolution. Many have stood by the street near the plant with signs reading, "Kellogg's holding families hostage" and "We want to work."
The workers are relieved the picketing is over. Union president Kevin Bradshaw says it's been hard.
"We have people who have been evicted out of their homes, foreclosed, lost cars, lost property, health issues, that you won't believe," he said. "Such a hardship, just glad they can get their lives back together"
Kellogg maintained its actions were legal after the federal complaint surfaced. An attorney pleaded for the company's case in a hearing in May.