Goose Island pushed back on union drive, then laid off organizers

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by thebeers, Oct 2, 2021.

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  1. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (4,248) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
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    According to the article, within a week of collecting signatures, nearly 60% of workers in the potential bargaining unit has signed union cards.

    The company reportedly responded with a familiar mix of mandatory anti-union meetings, bonuses, organizer harassment and selective layoffs. COVID certainly didn’t help pro-union employees either.

    Of note, Goose Island founder John Hall was also called in.

    “The moment that sits with me to this day was John making an impassioned argument that unions are not right for Goose Island and if we unionized, the pub would close down,” one employee said.

    Full article:
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  2. Resistance88

    Resistance88 Defender (654) Apr 9, 2015 California

    As someone who has always been a big believer in unions , works with union workers and currently logging union hours to be 100% union this makes me sick.
    Goose Island can go to hell. Ever since the sellout bcbs has been less and less appealing and shit like this makes me want to avoid them like the plague.
    The benefits and representation of workers from a union are second to none and to see that they threatenen a shutdown if it were to happen is laughable.
    AbInbev claiming a loss at 3.7 percent during the pandemic is insulting to the workers who lost so much more than that.

    I can go on but to cut it short, Bye Goose Island:poop:
  3. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,412) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

  4. Resistance88

    Resistance88 Defender (654) Apr 9, 2015 California

    The link you posted reads the same as original i believe...

    I can't speak on What Ifs ,but if this shit would have happened as a GI independent I'd still share same sentiment. Its not about the inbev buyout but the inequality that seems to plague it.
    Imagine having to serve your coworkers who make double in the same position as you as bartenders at a company event:rage:
    Theres seems tocbe a major divide within the brand
    All the workers want is fairness and equality.
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  5. moodenba

    moodenba Defender (625) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    The surrounding circumstances at Goose Island would have been different, to begin with. The employees at Clybourn perceived that they were treated differently by AB, both compared to their own experience before AB and compared to similar employees at Fulton St. Would things have been handled differently? Very possibly, by both staff and management.
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  6. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,412) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Possibly, but there is nothing to back that up other than conjecture. At Surly, IIRC, disparity in treatment of employees by management was one of the motivators behind the union drive.
  7. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,412) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    IDK how different it is, but I could read it without the pay/ad wall.

    Yeah, that sounded really bad. That and the casual attitude toward safety.

    I suspect (again, conjecture) that this is all on local management, not AB Inbev. AB-Inbev, like nearly all large industrial companies - especially those with bargaining units - have strong worker safety protocols and strong HR departments.

    Perhaps GI needs to be even less independent to handle such things correctly.
  8. Patrick_OKC

    Patrick_OKC Aspirant (278) Apr 26, 2017 Texas

    Sorry, I could not care less about unions. A dying breed. Let them die. They are too involved with political matters that don't necessarily benefit the average joe union member. Besides, this is a beer-centric passion we share; why weave extraneous matters in?
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  9. moodenba

    moodenba Defender (625) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    The business aspects of brewing affect the products we drink, packaging, prices, availability. Everybody is affected by federal, state, and local requirements. You even comment on "extraneous" matters, before you say that these issues should be ignored.
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  10. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (10,026) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Yup, fuck GI even harder.
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  11. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,321) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Because of Goose Island, right?
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  12. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,412) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    In my view, posts about the larger, broader topic of labor unions in the USA are out of bounds on this forum.

    Posts about union votes, etc., within the brewing industry is entirely within bounds on this forum, just as much as any other post about the business of brewing.

    Therefore, in this thread, it is your post that is OT.

    That's my view, anyway.
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  13. Amendm

    Amendm Meyvn (1,121) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island

    This site is the only place where beer related extraneous matters matter. Prost.
  14. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,321) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Referring extraneous matters is generally ponderous and often pompous. I say letting people speak gets us all closer to greater truths.....
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  15. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,817) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    @Resistance88 - I understand why you would react the way you have, but it's a catch-22. If you are trying to support unions in the beer industry with your beer purchases, then you would buy union-made beer... and that means buying Goose Island and AB InBev. By boycotting them, you are doing the opposite of supporting union-made beer. Chances are, the craft beer you purchase is not union-made. Buying that beer supports the non-unionization of beer production. Granted, there is clearly room for some added nuance in what I’m stating, but I think your viewpoint would benefit from some additional perspective.
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  16. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,412) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    As an aside, there are two (that I know of) craft brewers in MN organized by unions - August Schell and Fair State. Fair State essentially invited the union in. Schell and Fair State collaborated on a beer to celebrate:

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  17. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (10,026) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
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    Sure. Most craft breweries are relatively small. I'd imagine a place the size of, say, Deschutes, with a production facility that runs 24/7 and several brewpubs, only has 500-ish employees, even counting FoH, and office staff who might not be eligible. Which is why I was surprised that the Teamsters were even interested in a 150-ish workforce. I think this shows some unrest within the workforce in general. Look how every bar and restaurant is short-staffed these days. People are realizing they have more value than they've been lead to believe.

    Companies, regardless of size, are gonna have to start to step up.
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  18. Patrick_OKC

    Patrick_OKC Aspirant (278) Apr 26, 2017 Texas

    No, was making no particular brewer reference. Just in general, not even unique to beer.
  19. Patrick_OKC

    Patrick_OKC Aspirant (278) Apr 26, 2017 Texas

    Overall I would say let the market decide, whether it be accepting a job from a particular employer, or offering a job to a particular candidate. Otherwise my post referred to enjoying beer.
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  20. Patrick_OKC

    Patrick_OKC Aspirant (278) Apr 26, 2017 Texas

    Actually, I agree with your view, and your conclusion.
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  21. stairway2heavn

    stairway2heavn Initiate (140) Aug 17, 2017 New Jersey

    I think to your point and the larger discussion, there is no ethical consumption in capitalism applies. But, if GI is blatantly pulling this nonsense and people opt to buy other barrel aged stuff, go nuts. I love BCBS, but between this and the Philadelphia stuff, it's frustrating. All these hacks see labor costs as easy to cut. You're right, it's no wonder the food/beverage service industry can't find people. Abuse people long enough, things might backfire.
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  22. Patrick_OKC

    Patrick_OKC Aspirant (278) Apr 26, 2017 Texas

    Well, I had to chuckle at myself upon reading my post today. You are of course correct in my reference to extraneous matters.
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  23. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,803) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
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    A thought that gets right to the point. I take it you're not a fan.
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  24. CBlack85

    CBlack85 Savant (997) Jul 12, 2009 South Carolina

    Not a huge fan of unions myself. Not sure how it would work in the brewing industry, but my experience in the construction industry has not been overly positive.
  25. ESHBG

    ESHBG Devotee (454) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I also have no experience with Unions within the brewing industry but a ton outside of it and all that I have dealt with were corrupt and in many ways worse than the "evil employer" they claimed to be trying to protect the employees from. It has gotten so bad for me that when I see Union I run the other way. And I also have family members who were pro Union but after decades have also changed their opinions.

    They were helpful when they started but have lost their way severely over time.
  26. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,543) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Oh. So, you're not aware that the Closed Shop was banned by 1947's Taft-Hartley Act, with an exception made for joint union/company hiring halls in the construction industry? So an industrial local union like the Teamsters Local 701 is nothing at all like a typical construction union local.
    You know who be? The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which has represented brewery workers for over 100 years, both in the Teamsters (initially mostly drivers, but later also the so-called "inside workers") and in the United Brewery Workers Union, founded in 1886 which merged into the IBT in 1973.

    I suggest after you guys get hired at Goose Island you vote "No" if another organizing campaign occurs there.
  27. jmbranum

    jmbranum Savant (902) Dec 31, 2005 Oklahoma

    Time to #boycottGooseIsland
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  28. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,543) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    It's a strange article (unfortunately, both links behind paywalls for me now - I guess I clicked on 'em too many times) in that Noel* doesn't really make clear if the folks he's calling "organizers" are paid or volunteer organizers from the Chicago IBT Local 701 or are just GI employees with no formal connection to the Local. Maybe more specific info could be found by contacting

    (* I was both impressed and annoyed with Josh Noel's book on Goose Island and AB's purchase Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out: Goose Island, Anheuser-Busch, and How Craft Beer Became Big Business. Impressed because I found it totally accurate and annoyed because nit-picking modern beer writers' work is kinda my hobby. :grin: )

    You'd think that that the Teamster locals at AB, especially the well-known St. Louis +100 year old locals could have helped put some pressure on the parent company to tell their underling-execs running GI to be, at least, neutral.

    Lagunitas in Chicago is a Teamster shop - different local, tho' - 727. IBT Pres. Jim Hoffa even visited a few years ago. No idea what the relationship is between the 2 IBT locals - sometimes there's some rivalry in a union as big as the Teamsters.

    That's pretty disgusting. The rich cocksucker sold out and made millions but doesn't want to see the workers he left behind make a few bucks more, have better benefits and a safer workplace. Threatening to close a shop if it votes in a union is, depending on several circumstances, also a violation of labor law (which may be why management had a non-employee do it).

    Cold Spring workers, in the past anyway, have been represented by Teamsters Local 792 but that info in pretty old. Schell's original local was a Brewery Workers affiliate (Local 118) which was one of the dozen or so locals that didn't merge into the Teamsters in the '70s, becoming a so-called "Directly-Affliated" AFL-CIO local and eventually joined the Steelworkers.

    The brewing industry was considered 100% organized as far back as the early 20th century pre-Prohition era - back when other major industries (auto, steel, etc.) were all open shop. That didn't really change among the pre-craft era/old line breweries until Coors busted the brewery workers local in the 1970s (another indie "Directly-Affliated" AFL-CIO local) and, more recently, Yuengling busted the Teamster local in Pottsville.

    Lots of recent organizing in small shops going on in the labor movement; with an international like the Teamsters, it's mostly the Locals themselves doing it. this month's newsletter on recent organizing includes ones like:
    #28 jesskidden, Oct 4, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2021
  29. 57md

    57md Poo-Bah (3,479) Aug 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Thanks to the OP for posting this article. Naively, I thought that GI employees were rolled into one of the AB unions after the acquisition; I guess that didn't happen.

    To those who have expressed negative feelings about unions, I am sorry that your experiences have led you to such an opinion. I have worked union jobs in my life as well as non-union jobs. No matter the industry, I was treated better and compensated MUCH better in my union jobs. Unions are still relevant for those of us who are members. For those who are not, many of us are working hard to make it easier for you to join a union and see for yourself.

    I don't insist on drinking union beer. But, I WILL NOT buy beer from a brewer that actively sabotages a union drive. Someone else can have my regular BCBS allotment this Black Friday.
  30. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,817) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    I assume I'm being very naive with this question, but what stake does he have in this that would make him attend the meeting in the first place? Is someone else just pulling his strings?
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  31. moodenba

    moodenba Defender (625) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    It's possible that he has a consulting agreement or something similar. I know of one previous craft brewery owner who was retained after takeover by a major.
  32. Patrick_OKC

    Patrick_OKC Aspirant (278) Apr 26, 2017 Texas

    well, I also base my view on unions on one of my older brothers. He was a union steward and spent several decades in the union. His stories about his experiences were not positive at all. To each his own.

    Also, not sure I follow the point of your suggestion.
    #32 Patrick_OKC, Oct 5, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2021
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  33. DoIa

    DoIa Disciple (306) Jan 17, 2009 Iowa

    I have worked in union and non-union factory jobs. The difference can be the difference between life and death. I'm done with Goose Island.
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  34. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (4,248) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
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    Those are my sentiments exactly. I’ve always enjoyed BCBS, but won’t be buying it or advertising for them on social media accounts like this any longer.

    His comment about a union not being a “good fit for Goose Island” is especially rich in the context of selling out to a global conglomerate. AB InBev’s beer production is already heavily unionized. Works for them, but somehow not the Goose Island brand? And poor little AB might have to shut down if GI employees unionize cuz it’ll be just too onerous on the owners to continue? Fuck right off.
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  35. HouseofWortship

    HouseofWortship Meyvn (1,408) May 3, 2016 Illinois
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    Shouldn’t the AB employees who are union strike in solidarity to the GI employees’ plight? Seems weird to me that someone wouldn’t just lump them into the rest of the organization rather than making a distinction as a subsidiary.

    Jon Hall built out the brewpub and still owned it until a few years ago when he sold it to A. even though he sold off the rest of GI 10 some years ago. He still is part of the marketing lore for GI and they use him for events, etc. Helps to obfuscate the big beer aspect of AB if you have the GI “founder” still around in your marketing.

    I’m actually surprised the brewpub is still open. It never really recovered from the AB renovation after being closed for a few years. Always seemed empty for the size. If the taprooom workers are making considerable more money it probably points to the popularity of the taproom vs the obsolescence of the taproom. Given that the philly brewpub went under I would imagine Chicago isn’t far behind.
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  36. ESHBG

    ESHBG Devotee (454) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    And I suggest that you get hired there so that you can vote "Yes".
  37. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,543) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Most any union contract with a large, multi-site company like AB is going to have a No Strike Clause, which limits strikes to specific reasons (usually health/safety, and that's typically on the local level). There was no NLRB election, so a union can't simply "claim" workers in an unorganized location, despite the common ownership with other organized locations. But, yeah, surprised the International or the IBT's Brewery Conference just let the organizing attempt die (if they were even aware or involved) given the number of other "captured" ex-craft breweries AB owns.

    Well, there is no single "organization" if you're talking about Teamster locals at AB's plants - each brewery has a local, traditionally in the brewing industry more than one local, in fact - brewhouse workers, drivers, bottlers, etc, with contracts with specifics concerning the jobs involved. Couldn't just stick GI workers in one of the St. Louis locals without an NLRB decision on the bargaining unit (size, jobs, etc.), an election, etc. unless AB voluntarily recognized the GI workers' desire to join the union.
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  38. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Aspirant (246) Aug 2, 2017 Pennsylvania

    Now I won't feel bad ignoring their IPA that has been sitting in my local beer store untouched since Obama was president.
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  39. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,824) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    What!?! :astonished:

    What happened to "hope and change"? :thinking_face:

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  40. billandsuz

    billandsuz Zealot (512) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Yeah, the people that make beer are central to the making of beer.
    Nothing extraneous here. Nothing.

    Next time your company speaks to you about "work life balance" remind yourself that your work is not to be linked to political matters.

    The only question is, why is Goose Island afraid of a Union work force? They must be so sort of awesome employer.

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