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Beerworkers Archive


Post date: 08/15/2012 - 16:08

Teamster AB-InBev California Settle

Striking workers at Anheuser-Busch’s distribution center in Riverside voted to accept the brewing company’s final offer and have returned to their jobs, according to statements released by both sides in the dispute.
The leadership of Teamsters Local 166 received what Anheuser-Busch’s negotiators called their final offer Friday, Aug. 10, and took that deal to its members, said Mike Bergen, CEO of the Bloomington-based local.
That offer was ratified Saturday by a margin of about 2-to-1, Bergen said.
The workers returned to their jobs Sunday, ending the strike that lasted seven weeks.

Striking workers at Anheuser-Busch’s distribution center in Riverside voted to accept the brewing company’s final offer and have returned to their jobs, according to statements released by both sides in the dispute.
The leadership of Teamsters Local 166 received what Anheuser-Busch’s negotiators called their final offer Friday, Aug. 10, and took that deal to its members, said Mike Bergen, CEO of the Bloomington-based local.
That offer was ratified Saturday by a margin of about 2-to-1, Bergen said.
The workers returned to their jobs Sunday, ending the strike that lasted seven weeks.
It was, for the 130 people who worked at the Marlborough Avenue facility or drove delivery routes to area retailers, not a perfect contract but one that had to be accepted, Bergin said in an interview Monday, Aug. 13.
“We’re not really happy with it but it gets everyone back to work,” Bergen said. “We had to do it. It was apparent that the company was not moving and that our options were limited.”
Anheuser-Busch emailed a statement Saturday from Henry Dominguez, the St. Louis-based company’s regional vice president, that stated the firm is pleased with the new labor agreement, and that the drivers, warehouse workers and mechanics would return to work Sunday.
“All differences between the company and the union have been resolved, and we expect a smooth and orderly transition in the return of our employees and the resumption of normal business operations,” the statement said.
The three-year deal calls for drivers to be paid, in part, on a base pay plus commission basis starting in 2013. The Teamsters had opposed this arrangement, saying that this amounted to piecework.
But Bergen said the deal calls for 15 workers who had been working for Anheuser-Busch for several years but officially classified as temporary workers to be given full-time status.
Also, the company had proposed increasing health benefit costs for retirees, but the Teamsters bargained to reduce those increases and delay the hikes until 2014, he said.
A key win for the union was a three-year contract. Bergen said Anheuser-Busch had pushed for five years.
“We’re back to work and we get another shot in three years,” he said. “That puts the onus on them to do it right, next time.”
Both sides had filed charges for improper labor procedures with the National Labor Relations Board, but under the terms of the contract, all of those charges will be dropped.
The strike began June 24 and included a legal challenge to the scope of the Teamsters’ picketing at access points to the warehouse on Marlborough and Atlanta avenues. A Riverside County court commissioner turned down Anheuser-Busch’s efforts to limit the time pickets could block the driveways.
The strike did delay some deliveries to Inland retailers, particularly some smaller ones, but no major problems were reported.
The Teamsters also threw up pickets for more than a month at Anheuser-Busch warehouses in Carson and Sylmar. The union represents about 8,000 workers of the brewing company nationwide.