Teamsters, Anheuser-Busch Reach Tentative Deal Avoiding Major Strike

Katabella Roberts
By Katabella Roberts
February 29, 2024Business News
Teamsters, Anheuser-Busch Reach Tentative Deal Avoiding Major Strike
An Anheuser-Busch Companies, LLC facility is seen, in Cartersville, Ga., on Feb. 28, 2024. (Mike Stewart/AP Photo)

Beer maker Anheuser-Busch and the Teamsters union reached a tentative five-year deal on Feb. 28, avoiding a potential strike set to take place just days later, officials said.

The Teamsters announced the tentative agreement in a statement on X.

The deal, the union said, includes a significant raise in pay, improved health care, and retirement benefits for members at 12 major Anheuser-Busch breweries across the United States.

It also provides “critical job security” for all 5,000 Teamsters members at Anheuser-Busch breweries, including brewers, packagers, and warehouse workers.

Teamsters union members had planned to go on strike if a deal wasn’t reached by 11:59 p.m. EST on Feb. 29, when the contract was set to expire. The strike would have marked the first time in the United States against Anheuser-Busch since 1976.

“Teamsters make the beer, Teamsters make Anheuser-Busch successful, and our members deserve the best contract. That is what we fought for and won today,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien in a statement.

“Anheuser-Busch knew our members were serious and prepared to do whatever it would take to get a fair agreement. After a long day and a longer campaign, we’ve reached an agreement that sets a new high standard for the brewing industry.”

According to union leaders, the agreement with Anheuser-Busch will provide members with wage increases of $8 per hour, including a $4 per hour raise in the first year of the agreement; with average wage increases totaling 23 percent over the length of the agreement.

Anheuser-Busch Welcomes Deal

Members also will get a $2,500 signing bonus, increased pension contributions and benefits, increased maximum vacation accrual to eight paid weeks, and restoration of retirement benefits for both active and retired members.

The agreement also includes an “end to two-tier health care, providing all workers with the same high-quality Teamsters health care coverage,” the union said.

The Teamsters said its National Negotiating Committee unanimously recommended the deal after reconvening at the bargaining table with Anheuser-Busch representatives late in the day on Feb. 28.

However, the deal still needs to be ratified by workers, with a vote expected next week.

In a separate statement, Anheuser-Busch said the deal “builds even further upon our existing industry-leading package of wages, health care, and retirement benefits, and it includes significant commitments to job security.”

“At Anheuser-Busch, we have said time and again that our people are our greatest strength, and we are incredibly pleased to have reached a tentative agreement that continues to recognize the talent, dedication, and hard work of our teams, while also positioning the company for long-term success,” said CEO Brendan Whitworth.

The Molson Coors facility
The Molson Coors facility is seen in Milwaukee, Wis., on Feb. 27, 2020. (Morry Gash/AP)

Molson Coors Workers Strike

“As America’s leading brewer, we have the best people and provide the best jobs in the beer industry, and together we are focused on what we do best: brewing great beer for everyone, showing up in the moments that matter for our consumers, and making a positive impact in our communities across the country,” Mr. Whitworth added.

The company noted it “looks forward” to the ratification process in a few days.

The deal comes as Anheuser-Busch is facing declining beer sales in the United States amid a change in drinking habits and the fallout over Bud Light’s partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney last year.

Anheuser-Busch shipments to U.S. wholesalers dropped 13.8 percent last year, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights. Overall, U.S. beer shipments were down 5 percent.

The tentative agreement between the beer maker and union members comes as Teamsters members at rival Molson Coors’ facility in Fort Worth, Texas, have been on strike since Feb. 17.

Negotiations over the new three-year contract for 420 workers have been ongoing for months as workers push for higher pay and increased care and retirement benefits, among either things, however, neither side is yet to reach a deal.

In his statement announcing the tentative agreement between Anheuser-Busch and the Teamsters union, Mr. O’Brien said union members “continue to hold the line at Molson Coors in Texas for a fair contract, but Molson Coors should pay close attention to the bar we’ve set today for brewery workers across the country.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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