1. We need your support. Become a Premium member now for as little as $1.99 a month. And, if you join this month you can help us beta test our new app!
  2. BEER FEST ALERT: Don't miss FUNK Boston: A Wild & Sour Beer Fest on June 14-15!

Anchor Brewing Co. employees are unionizing

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

  1. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (255) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    @jesskidden New era cap is closing up shop in Derby, NY at the end of the month. They were a union shop. They manufactured baseball caps for Major League Baseball for decades. They've been an exclusive provider since the mid 90s. Huge blow to the area.

    Most work is going overseas with a select few caps being made at a non union shop in Florida. My mind keeps going back to there really being no valid reason they have to stay open and accommodate these new union workers (and in expensive CA) for that matter.

    I don't know if one can celebrate as they seem to want to do. Now they need to make some beer that people want to drink. And hope consumers can respond before their own jobs are out sourced. Don't bite the hand that feeds you, some could argue.
    #161 Oktoberfiesta, Mar 14, 2019 at 4:01 PM
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019 at 4:08 PM
  2. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,407) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    That's fine for you, I suppose. Other peoples' judgement of the "validity" in such cases might be based not just on cold-hearted economics, but also on factors like "fairness", "ethics", "respect for the law" and the realization that a company's current status and success is, in large part, also due to the contributions of its labor force. (Things that were once considered part of "The American Way" blah, blah, and all that "unrealistic" shit --- but, then, I'm an old dude.)

    As such, the Anchor workers feel that, even in times of restructuring/lower sales, they should have a say in things like pay, benefits and layoffs - as noted and detailed in a signed contract between the local and the company.

    Neither Fritz alone nor, later, the duo of "Keith and Tony" :rolling_eyes: brewed and packaged those 115-150k bbl./yr of Anchor beers. Whatever the Griffin Group and then Sapporo paid for the company, the people who work there should share in its success, rather than be punished because the new ownership wants to squeeze out more profits as their barrelage goes down, or recover it's investment quicker.
    #162 jesskidden, Mar 14, 2019 at 4:25 PM
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019 at 4:34 PM
    grilledsquid, shand, afrokaze and 2 others like this.
  3. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (255) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    I'm probably thinking about this all wrong. With so many macro brewery workers being in their own set of unions, I guess the better question is, how do their wages and benefits compare to regular Joe's at places like Sierra Nevada and New Belgium. I don't see AB inbev closing up shop because their workers want better working conditions.

    I do have a question. At smaller breweries bought up by AB inbev (like wicked weed), are those workers union too? Or only the ones at the bigger facilities? It seems like the big boys we hate on are at least doing some things right, so in that regard, kudos to anchor for changing the norm.

    I just sometimes question, look at who owns you and then try to wonder why things are the way they are. Maybe Sapporo can learn from AB in bev here. I didn't realize how many macro breweries were union, and are successful at business and ethical worker rights. It makes non union craft look pretty bad right now.
  4. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,751) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Lots of union made beer.

  5. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,403) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Companies have to satisfy the stockholders. The US companies have plants in Mexico. So do VW and most of the Japanese.

    In a way you could say the same thing about the German and Japanese manufacturers that have non union plants in the Southern US. Their plants in the home country are union.
  6. Milktoast75

    Milktoast75 Devotee (416) Oct 27, 2012 Wisconsin

    Thanks getmanipa! It’s been very nice. Very nice indeed.
    I wish the best of luck to you on your continued success with UPS. Only fellow UPSers understand what it’s like.
    GetMeAnIPA likes this.
  7. CheapHysterics

    CheapHysterics Aspirant (212) Apr 1, 2009 Pennsylvania

    That is a lot of really bad to mediocre beer, with a few notable exceptions. Mad River, in particular. Love their stout and Porter but don't see them fresh in Pittsburgh very often. They're also a green brewery, aren't they? Environmentalist unionized brewers... Dirty hippies!
  8. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,751) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Well, that’s what you get from poor management decisions and/or certain kinds of marketing research, regardless of whether the shop is unionized or not.
    deanzaZZR likes this.
  9. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,407) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Well, as a student of both brewing and labor studies for decades I don't know what the hell is going on in that site. (IIRC the Union Plus info is "reader- generated" like the beers entered here on BA, which are often incorrect). Beers like "1845" (Fullers, I take it?), Czechvar and Hoegaarden aren't even brewed in the US - could be unionized workers at some distributors or imported added those?

    All those beers brewed at AB's main breweries, all organized by the Teamsters (IBT), that are listed as being IAM/IUOE/IBT likely means that the brewery also has contracts with smaller "craft" (or damn, not that word again) unions like the Machinists and Operating Engineers.

    Beers brewed at MillerCoors facilities are a bit more confusing - while Coors' two breweries (VA and CO) were infamous unorganized (Golden's once indenpendent local #366 of the old Brewery Workers Union was busted in the '70s, of course), while the former Miller breweries' workers were members of the UAW (WI and OH) and the Machinists (in GA) and elsewhere production workers belonged to Teamster locals.

    The Teamsters' Brewery Division has a pretty good map (but I made it even better :grin:) of the locals in the macro breweries:

    The brands listed as "IUE-CWA" union-made beer are contract-brewed by City Brewing Co., in Latrobe PA, where workers are organized by the old International Union of Electrical workers, now part of the Communication Workers of America.

    Yuengling infamously busted their local brewery in Pottsville a few years back and, AFAIK, the Tampa plant (organized by the Teamsters under Schlitz, Pabst and Stroh ownership, IIRC) is also non-union. BBC's brewery in Cincinnati (ex-Schoenling) remains unionized, I think.

    The history of labor in the brewing industry in the US is a long but complicated one. The old Brewery Workers were a very left-wing union in the Pre-Pro era and, given their industry and its working class customers, they had close relationship in some cases with the local Knights of Labor (until they came out for Prohibition) and even the IWW. They were also heavily German - union pubs were bi-lingual and they had reciprocal agreements with the German and Austrian brewery unions, etc. That did not help the BW when WWI came along in the midst of the Prohibition movement, nor did joining the so-called "brewery capitalists" in an effort to prevent Prohibition.

    Both pre-Pro and after Repeal, within the old AFL, they ran into conflict with the Teamsters and the other craft-based unions. The Brewery Workers were among the first "Industrial Unions" (along with the Mine Workers) and believed if you worked for a brewery, regardless of trade, you were supposed to belong to the Brewery Workers Union. The Teamsters (who represented drivers) and other craft union like the Machinists, Operating Engineers, Coopers felt the workers in those trades belonged to their organizations.

    The conflict heated up after Repeal, resulting in the "Beer Wars" (literally, workers were killed) in the PNW and Pennsylvania, in particular. The Teamsters realized that they had little power against the employer when the "inside" workers were still brewing beer but their drivers were striking, and vice versa. Additionally, with the enactment of the Wagner Act/NLRA, it was workers who picked their union via an election as opposed to before that, when the AFL settled "jurisdicational" disputes between unions like the Brewery Workers and Teamsters.

    One of the Brewery Workers beliefs was that locals were organized on a city/regional basis, often with 3 different BW locals in a city - Brewers, Bottlers and Drivers with workers able to move from brewery to brewery depending on demand. This, they felt, made their members loyal to the union rather than a particular employing brewery. Of course, as breweries disappeared the concept faltered. Eventually, and for a variety of reasons, most BW locals in many regions quit or voted out the BW union and joined the IBT. By 1972 (nearing the low point in the number of breweries in the US) the Brewery Workers were merged into the Teamsters, although a few locals resisted and became local unions (like at Coors) or joined other International (like the famous Local #9 in Milwaukee, now the oldest local in the United Auto Workers.

    (Yeah, someday I'm gonna put my Brewery Worker history on line, in the meantime some interesting items at BREWERY WORKER UNIONISM IN THE US)
    #169 jesskidden, Mar 15, 2019 at 4:37 PM
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019 at 4:44 PM
    deanzaZZR, bret717, meefmoff and 5 others like this.