Washington – Teamsters working nationwide at Anheuser-Busch have voted by an overwhelming 99 percent to authorize a strike.
The resounding vote allows the Teamsters National Negotiating Committee to call a strike if Anheuser-Busch fails to come to terms on a strong new contract. 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 current agreement expires Feb. 29, 2024.
“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,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien. “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.”
Under pressure from the Teamsters, the company reached tentative agreements to end tiered health care and restore retiree health benefits last month. However, Anheuser-Busch has delayed negotiating on important job security issues since mid-November, despite repeated requests by the union. The global beermaker pulled in $58 billion in 2022. The company also recently announced $1 billion in stock buybacks to wealthy investors as it simultaneously ignores the need to protect good jobs.
“Anheuser-Busch can’t kick this can down the road much longer. The Teamsters don’t want to be forced onto the picket line at any employer, but we are fully prepared to walk if Anheuser-Busch doesn’t get serious about negotiating a record contract that also protects good union jobs,” said Jeff Padellaro, director of the Teamsters Brewery, Bakery, and Soft Drink Conference. “It is the workers — the dedicated and tireless members of the Teamsters — who make this company a success and who have earned to share in that success.”
There are no dates currently set for negotiations. Anheuser-Busch Teamsters recently rallied in New Hampshire, California, and Florida. More actions will take place soon across the country.
“If this company wasn’t willing to come to a fair agreement with the Teamsters, we would strike. My Teamster brothers and sisters have a lot of fight in us and, by all means, we will stand united,” said Josh Blanton, an Anheuser-Bush worker with Teamsters Local 947 in Jacksonville, Fla.