Unionized Fort Worth Molson Coors brewery workers authorized a strike on Sunday, according to a local report.
If approved by Teamsters Local 997 national leaders, 420 workers will walk off the job, WFAA reported.
“We’re working to get back some respect in the workplace,” chapter treasurer Rick Miedema told the TV station Sunday. “The company has made record profits over the last several years, and it’s time to give back the dignity and respect to the workers.”
The union is seeking pay raises, improved health care and retirement benefits for the hundreds of workers who make, package and warehouse Molson Coors brews while maintaining the brewery, a press release on Friday stated.
“Molson Coors negotiators have wasted time on insulting proposals and regressive offers despite having months to reach a fair three-year agreement,” the press release stated. It added that products coming out of the brewery include Topo Chico, Simply Pabst, Yuengling and other major beverage brands.
Molson Coors’ Fort Worth brewery opened in 1969, according to the company’s website. It became the “Home of Miller Lite” in 1975. A fact sheet says 520 employees work there for an average wage of $36 an hour, and 8.2 million barrels of beverages come out of the facility annually.
That work will come to a screeching halt if the strike happens, the union says.
“The Molson Coors brewery in Fort Worth will shut down if a strong new contract is not reached, and the executives of yet another greedy beer giant will have no one to blame but themselves,” Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien said in the release. “Teamsters across the brewery industry are standing shoulder-to-shoulder. It doesn’t matter if it’s Molson Coors, Anheuser-Busch, or anyone else — these corporations cannot keep taking for themselves, shoveling money to Wall Street, and leaving the workers who make the products out in the cold. Teamsters know the value of our labor and we are not afraid to withhold it to get the contract we have earned.”
A company spokesperson expressed optimism, saying to FOX Business via email that “a strike authorization vote doesn’t necessarily equate to a likely strike.” He called the move a procedural step and noted that the 400 plus workers are on the job Monday. At the same time, the spokesperson made it known that the company is prepared for any scenario.
“We made a strong offer that exceeds local-market rates for similar unionized roles and we remain committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to employees and the Fort Worth brewery,” Molson Coors’ chief communications officer Adam Collins said in the emailed statement. “But we have strong contingency plans in place and are well prepared for any scenario. We deliberately built up distributor inventories across the country in recent weeks, our five other U.S. breweries have extra capacity, and we are well equipped to ensure that consumers will be able to buy their favorite Molson Coors products.”