WASHINGTON — The International Brotherhood of Teamsters pledged this week to double the weekly strike payments for union members Anheuser-Busch Cos. LLC operations if labor contract negotiations fail and work stops.
Striking Teamster’s nationwide, including those and A-B’s Fort Collins brewery, will receive $1,000 per week during the potential work stoppage, which could occur as soon as the union’s labor contract expires on Feb. 29.
The Teamsters authorized a strike in December 2023, and last week union leadership said such a move “appears unavoidable” due to the lack of momentum during recent negotiating sessions.
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“With its ongoing refusal to invest in and protect American jobs, Anheuser-Busch is a legitimate threat to hardworking Teamsters. We’ve been clear with this company that the Teamsters have a strike fund of more than $300 million and we will use it to defend our members against those who threaten to destroy their livelihoods,” Teamsters general president Sean O’Brien said in a prepared statement this week. “It’s important to increase benefits now in the event Anheuser-Busch puts itself on strike, so we make certain Teamster families don’t suffer undue burdens and can hold the line against corporate greed.”
Union workers at A-B brew, package, and ship beer, maintain breweries and equipment, and care for the company’s famous Clydesdale horses.
“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,” an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson said in an email Wednesday to BizWest.
Last summer, Anheuser-Busch laid off hundreds of employees nationally amid declining sales for its Bud Light brand, due in part to calls for boycotts of the brand from high-profile conservatives and right-wing social-media accounts.
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Donald Trump took to his Truth Social platform this week to perhaps call a truce with A-B, which had been criticized from the right for including a transgender influencer in its advertising.
“The Bud Light ad was a mistake of epic proportions, and for that a very big price was paid, but Anheuser-Busch is not a Woke company,” Trump wrote. “Anheuser-Busch is a Great American Brand that perhaps deserves a Second Chance?”
Trump’s pivot comes as a top A-B lobbyist prepares to hold a March fundraiser for the former president’s 2024 election campaign.