BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — President Joe Biden says he’s “troubled” that Kellogg’s is looking to replace striking workers.

After the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union voted to reject a tentative agreement with Kellogg’s, the company announced it is looking to hire replacement employees.

“Collective bargaining is an essential tool to protect the rights of workers that should be free from threats and intimidation from employers,” Biden said in a statement released Friday.

He said he is “deeply troubled” by the reports of Kellogg’s plans to replace striking workers.

“Permanently replacing striking workers is an existential attack on the union and its members’ jobs and livelihoods,” Biden said.

Biden said collective bargaining plays a critical role for workers having a voice and that “unions built the middle class of this country.”

“I urge employers and unions to commit fully to the challenging task of working out their differences at the bargaining table in a manner that fairly advances both parties’ interests,” Biden said.

About 1,400 workers at seven Kellogg’s cereal plans in Battle Creek, Pennsylvania, Nebraska and Tennessee have been striking since Oct. 5.

When no deal was reached, Kellogg North America President Chris Hood said that the company will take the necessary steps to ensure that business continues.

“After 19 negotiation sessions in 2021, and still no deal reached, we will continue to focus on moving forward to operate our business,” Hood said on Tuesday. “The prolonged work stoppage has left us no choice but to continue executing the next phase of our contingency plan including hiring replacement employees in positions vacated by striking workers.”

The company has not said how many replacement employees it is looking to hire or when that process will begin.