Brewing, Cideries & Spirits  December 18, 2023

Teamsters authorize strike as Anheuser-Busch contract expiration looms

WASHINGTON — Anheuser-Busch Cos. LLC employees who are International Brotherhood of Teamsters union members, hundreds of whom work at the beer giant’s Fort Collins brewery, voted late last week to authorize a strike if a new labor contract isn’t hammered out in the next couple of months. 

“The union is seeking an agreement that improves wages, protects jobs, and secures health care and retirement benefits for 5,000 Teamsters across the company’s 12 U.S. breweries,” the union said.

The labor contract expires on Feb. 29, 2024. No dates have been set for negotiation.

“Anheuser-Busch is aware of the Teamsters’ strike authorization vote, which is common during labor negotiations,” a company spokesperson told BizWest in an email. “We are committed to negotiating in good faith with the union to reach an agreement that recognizes and rewards the talent, commitment, and drive of our employees.”

There are about 400 Teamsters at the Fort Collins brewery, the union told BizWest. Across the country, 99% of Teamsters voted in favor of the strike authorization, according to the union.

“Teamsters stand firm in our fight for the best contract at Anheuser-Busch, and this powerful strike vote proves it. Our members’ labor, talent, and sacrifice are what put Anheuser-Busch products on the shelf, and we are committed to getting a contract that rewards and recognizes their hard work,” Teamsters general president Sean O’Brien said in a prepared statement. “If Anheuser-Busch’s executives can’t get their act together to negotiate an agreement that respects workers, we will see them out on the streets.”

The union criticized A-B leadership for “delay(ing) negotiating on important job security issues” and for authorizing “$1 billion in stock buybacks to wealthy investors as it simultaneously ignores the need to protect good jobs.”

This summer Anheuser-Busch laid off hundreds of employees nationally amid declining sales for its Bud Light brand.

Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth said in July that the company “took the very difficult but necessary decision to eliminate a number of positions across our corporate organization.

‘While we never take these decisions lightly, we want to ensure that our organization continues to be set for future long-term success,’ he said.

The Wall Street Journal and other outlets reported at the time that the cuts will affect corporate and marketing positions and will spare brewery and warehouse staff.

WASHINGTON — Anheuser-Busch Cos. LLC employees who are International Brotherhood of Teamsters union members, hundreds of whom work at the beer giant’s Fort Collins brewery, voted late last week to authorize a strike if a new labor contract isn’t hammered out in the next couple of months. 

“The union is seeking an agreement that improves wages, protects jobs, and secures health care and retirement benefits for 5,000 Teamsters across the company’s 12 U.S. breweries,” the union said.

The labor contract expires on Feb. 29, 2024. No dates have been set for negotiation.

“Anheuser-Busch is aware of the Teamsters’ strike authorization vote, which is…

Lucas High
A Maryland native, Lucas has worked at news agencies from Wyoming to South Carolina before putting roots down in Colorado.
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