Anchor Brewing Co. employees are unionizing

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by deadwolfbones, Feb 7, 2019.

  1. deadwolfbones

    deadwolfbones Initiate (117) Jun 21, 2014 Oregon

    Maybe a first in American craft brewing?

  2. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,679) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
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    Anchor Steam is one of the most iconic and important beers in America. It’s right up there with SNPA and Boston Lager and a very small handful of others, IMO — and delicious, too.

    I hope that Sapporo (which bought Anchor in 2017) can bring it upon themselves to stay neutral in this process and to allow their employees to choose for themselves whether they want a union. If it becomes an ILWU shop, I will definitely have them in my fridge a lot more often. If they bust the unionization attempt by their workers, I won’t be drinking them again.
  3. deadwolfbones

    deadwolfbones Initiate (117) Jun 21, 2014 Oregon

    Ditto all of that.
  4. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (967) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I have a long history with Anchor Steam and I love all of them. Whenever I go to San Francisco, I stay at The Argonaut and relish Anchor Steam on tap. It is special. Living in or near San Francisco is very expensive and I think and feel that a tight union operation can only be good for such an iconic American brewery. Good luck to them.
    Tdizzle, eppCOS, russpowell and 13 others like this.
  5. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,838) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    There was a brewery that the Machinists organized quite a while back in California - Mad River, maybe? Not sure of many others, except for the obvious ones like those that date - along with their union locals- from the pre-craft era like BBC in OH (as successor to Hudepohl-Schoenling), F X Matt, Schell, etc. The ILGU is great union and an iconic San Francisco institution.
    #5 jesskidden, Feb 7, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
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  6. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,838) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

  7. Milktoast75

    Milktoast75 Devotee (453) Oct 27, 2012 Wisconsin

    Congratulations to all the new Anchor Brewing union members. Also, congrats to the hard working union organizers that help to make this possible.
    As a retired Teamster Local 344 Wisconsin member, I support as many union members as possible with my pocketbook.
    I don’t need much of a reason to try a new brewery, but I have not enjoyed an Anchor beer. Shame on me . . but not for long!
    NodEast, mynie, SFACRKnight and 8 others like this.
  8. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,318) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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  9. MJS08

    MJS08 Initiate (79) Jul 29, 2014 Florida

    Retired Local 79 Florida freight humper agrees. I've got an honorable discharge, a bad back, and a fair pension. We ain't got a lot, but we haven't missed any meals, and we don't have to borrow to buy our meds. Work hard and stand tall, brothers at Anchor.
    IPAExpert69, trsC, eppCOS and 14 others like this.
  10. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Meyvn (1,442) Jul 27, 2013 California
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    Pretty poor reporting. Lacking description on what happens next.

    Filing a petition with the NLRB is just the first step in a long process. It may eventually lead to a vote. Statistically most times it doesn’t.

    Management will almost certainly embark on a communication and engagement campaign. Can’t threaten, intimidate, or promise.....but they can educate and rebutt union promises and propaganda. Generally the discussion between management and workers improves the work environment and erodes union support.

    If the union feels the vote is in doubt, they usually withdraw to avoid the embarrassment of a loss.
  11. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (967) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    This is certainly an interesting story that I will continue to follow. To me, the definition of what is and is not a "craft" brewery doesn't matter. As a 17 year old in 1968 I got a job working for Kelly Brick Company of Philadelphia helping to build the new Schlitz Brewery in Winston-Salem. I was a union dues paying and hard-working well paid kid. As far as I know my good friend Scott A.-a noted jazz musician- still holds the record for sleeping in a Port-a-Let. We had a good time.
    #11 rgordon, Feb 8, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  12. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,838) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Reads to me like the union expects/hopes the company will voluntarily recognize the union and avoid an NLRB election (rare these days but it happens)
    but, yeah, "The ILWU declined to say what percentage of the bargaining unit had signed union cards" doesn't sound good - a union would want to have well over a majority of employees signed given many will drop out once an aggressive anti-union campaign is mounted by the employer. You'd think the union would at least hint at a percentage in the letter.

    Edit - Checked the net again this AM - the SF Weekly story reports:
    The "Splinter" article said "There are approximately 70 full- and part-time employees in the bargaining unit..." but I expect that's confusion on their part, since the workers' jobs that would fall under the Bargaining Unit would yet to be decided by agreement with the union and company.
  13. 5thOhio

    5thOhio Devotee (497) May 13, 2007 South Carolina

    Just curious---if the employees vote against unionization will you still drink Anchor?
    TrojanRB likes this.
  14. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,679) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
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    From the thread above it sounds like 70% of the workforce has already signed union cards. If that’s the case, Sapporo can and should recognize the union already and sit down to negotiate a contract.

    What I suspect will happen instead is that the company will insist on going through the lengthy NLRB election process, during which time they will likely spend ridiculous amounts of money they could have spent elsewhere to hire union-busting consultants to help “educate” the workforce on the “dangers” of unionizing. They’ll probably implement some modest improvements in compensation or working conditions in the short run for the majority of the workforce, too, while illegally firing or otherwise making life difficult for the loudest pro-union voices.

    Hope I’m wrong about that, or that even if I’m right, that the workers trust one another enough to still support unionizing. I would love to drink Anchor Steam with the ILWU bug on the label.
  15. elNopalero

    elNopalero Poo-Bah (3,362) Oct 14, 2009 Texas
    Society Trader

    This makes sense to me. If 'big craft' is going to unionize then Anchor makes the perfect candidate for a campaign--iconic brand, progressive/liberal SF area, & all too pressing workplace issues. I'd hope to see others follow suit. Is Lagunitas (under Heineken) now union?
    thebeers and deadwolfbones like this.
  16. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,457) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    i would be surprised if Sapporo is not union.
    SFACRKnight, thebeers and drtth like this.
  17. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,131) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

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  18. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (6,232) Sep 24, 2007 Northern Mariana Islands

    IATSE Local 15 member here, and I support this development.
    eppCOS, afrokaze, sharpski and 3 others like this.
  19. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Meyvn (1,442) Jul 27, 2013 California
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    In my personal experience, many people have no idea what signing a card means. And those that think they do, only know what the union has told them. Which isn’t always consistent with the law.

    That is PRECISELY why there is a formal election process.

    And for the record, the business CANNOT provide any compensation changes or improvements to the workplace before the election takes place. Can’t even promise they will happen if/after the union goes away. That is an Unfair Labor Practice.

    Getting 70% of a workforce to sign a union card isn’t hard. It’s basically equivalent to getting 70% of BeerAdvocates to say they’d like free beer.
    dukeandduke and JackHorzempa like this.
  20. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,679) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
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    Companies frequently engage in Unfair Labor Practices because they know they’re unlikely to get busted for it and even if they are the penalties are generally quite modest.

    Also... Yes, I will gladly take a free beer. You in the 30% of BAs that doesn’t want free beer?
  21. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,838) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Unless I'm missing something, that's not how I read the stories (although, as I said above, I think there's likely a misunderstanding at one or the other of the news sources):, if both are true, that's about 100%.:wink:
    #21 jesskidden, Feb 9, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  22. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Meyvn (1,442) Jul 27, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Not in California.....
  23. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Meyvn (1,442) Jul 27, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Sign the card and give me part of your paycheck. Then maybe Todd will give you a “free” beer.
  24. FFFjunkie

    FFFjunkie Crusader (752) Aug 26, 2014 Illinois
    Society Trader

    As an IBEW 134 member, I approve these comments!
  25. FFFjunkie

    FFFjunkie Crusader (752) Aug 26, 2014 Illinois
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    That first comment is spot on. I know a few people that work at different shops. They tried to organize, management came in and promised everything. Once the vote went no and the unions moved on , it was back to business as usual.
  26. jaxon53

    jaxon53 Meyvn (1,378) Mar 1, 2006 Connecticut

    That's how it works....
    FFFjunkie, deadwolfbones and thebeers like this.
  27. OneArmedBoxer

    OneArmedBoxer Initiate (56) May 10, 2014 California

    Well, pessimism aside, I hope it works out. Brewing is a hard job with long hours, rotating shifts, and in craft, exhausting labor. There's a reason you don't see a lot of people over 35 in the craft beer industry (in terms of production). The pay doesn't match the effort put forth, and free beer and social credit don't pay a mortgage or put the kids through school. There's going to have to be progress made on this front, otherwise the industry's gonna be a rotating door of 20 somethings with no experience.
  28. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,775) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
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    I noticed no one is going to be upset when the cost of the product goes up, good to see BA folks not upset over costs anymore, progress.
  29. DrumKid003

    DrumKid003 Aspirant (227) Aug 10, 2013 Oklahoma

    Didn't drink it hardly at all before, but I'll fully pass on anything from Anchor from now on. Unions are a relic from the late 19th century through the 1940s. All they do nowadays is drive of the cost of goods.
    Alefflicted, tzieser, 5thOhio and 5 others like this.
  30. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,679) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
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    I would take these percentages with a grain of salt. They’re obviously going to vary from beer to beer and brewery to brewery. But for a company now owned by the world’s first trillion-dollar bank (the Mizuho Financial Group — which owns Sapporo — which owns Anchor), I’m willing to bet labor costs are a relatively small percentage of the consumer cost of a beer.

    I’d gladly pay an extra six cents per beer to see the workers who make it get good pay and benefits. I’d also be fine with seeing the owners take smaller profits.
  31. DavidHume

    DavidHume Zealot (576) Mar 25, 2013 Virginia

    If the higher costs from the unionized labor end up driving up the cost of the beer, it'll be goodbye Anchor for me. Unions are an anachronism, and I'm not going to subsidize them.

    Alefflicted, AWA, 5thOhio and 3 others like this.
  32. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,679) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
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    On a site where people regularly celebrate beers that cost $25 a four pack or $30 a bomber, people are seriously gonna argue that unions are the reason beer is expensive?

    Many of the cheapest beers out there are union shops where workers earn a decent wage.
  33. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,457) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    The saying is "Brewing is a young man's game."
    MostlyNorwegian likes this.
  34. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,775) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
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    "The effort is unprecedented in that if the workers' union drive succeeds, it will be one of the first unionized national craft beer companies, as well as the first time that a chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has directly helped organize a union. The DSA is currently the largest socialist group in the United States in over a century, with over 50,000 members, including elected politicians such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D.-NY), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D.-Mich.)".

    Good to see the country embrace Socialism since this move was pushed and organized by the largest socialist group in the USA, lol now I am going to walk from Anchor, won't support socialism in any form and if they are behind this move bye bye.
    Alefflicted, tzieser, 5thOhio and 3 others like this.
  35. glass_house

    glass_house Zealot (575) Jan 10, 2014 Ohio

    If it makes you feel any better (it shouldn't), Democratic Socialists aren't really socialist...yet. Socialism is a somewhat ambiguous term, but generally, they conflate welfare capitalism with a traditional socialist economy (collective ownership, central planning, etc.). They need the wealth created by capitalism--and subsequent revenue from high taxes--to redistribute through various social welfare programs.
  36. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,838) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    As opposed to the relic of Red-Baiting (circa 1880s-1980s, approx.) illustrated here in this thread?
    You appear to be ignorant of the history of Brewery Workers unionism in the US:
    Ditto for the history of Harry Bridges and the union he helped found, the United Longshore & Warehouse Union.
    So you're both going to boycott Anchor --- because some of their employees are trying to organize a local at the brewery? :rolling_eyes: There's been no NLRB election, there is no union contract --- at this point there's not even been a hint about what the company's attitude is about unionism. I mean, feel free to boycott which ever brewery's beer you want --- but I think you guys are getting things both mixed up and way ahead of the facts.
    sharpski, zid, Ranbot and 18 others like this.
  37. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Poo-Bah (1,732) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska
    Society Trader

    Of all the reasons for the price of a product to increase, helping to ensure fair compensation for workers seems like it's probably top of the list. Or maybe in a virtual tie with sourcing better quality or more sustainable ingredients.

    I was going to list all the things you likely benefit from that are the result of socialist mechanisms within US society, but I have a strange feeling that it won't hit home anyway.
  38. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,775) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    I have no issues with them going into the union, I worked for a union shop for 10 years. I am 100% against them embracing anyone/group that pushes for Socialism in our country. I am shocked to be honest that Anchor would associate with that, very sad actually.
    5thOhio and TrojanRB like this.
  39. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,775) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
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    I am all about fair wages, I think people are overworked and underpaid to be honest. I was just poking fun about the cost side lol, people seem to get really angry with costs so it was more an inside joke.
    I am not a fan of socialism, it does not work and it does not take much to see how it destroys, just study history and that is all the education anyone needs.
    Alefflicted and 5thOhio like this.
  40. deadwolfbones

    deadwolfbones Initiate (117) Jun 21, 2014 Oregon

    I don't think you understand what socialism is, or, as @LambicPentameter pointed out, how many benefits you enjoy due to it.