The third time is a charm. After turning down at least two contract proposals over the past week Jim Beam Distillery workers approved the third proposal today. Union workers at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont and the Booker Noe Distillery in Boston, Kentucky voted 201 to 19 to strike last Friday. The next day, union workers showed up near the plants with picket signs. Those people have been there 24×7 since the strike began. The good news is those workers can go home now that the company and the union have reached a new two year agreement. Today’s vote was approved by union members 204 to 19.
Work – Life Balance
News outlets have been reporting all week that the strike was not about money but about work-life balance. With today’s bourbon renaissance demand for the brown spirit has been growing and employees have been required to 80 to 90 hours per week. The new agreement includes plans to hire 30 more workers between the two plants and reduce part-time help down to 25%. They also eliminated a two tier pay system so people will get equal pay for equal work.
Janelle Mudd, President of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 111D said, “The company addressed every concern. They went above and beyond as far as I’m concerned. They have agreed to hire more people so that’s good for anybody looking for work. That will relieve some of the overtime.”
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Union Vice President Bill Mattingly said, “The company has really put a lot of money into this, they listened to us. And that’s really all we wanted.”
A statement released by Beam-Suntory says, “This contract builds on the values shared by our company and our workforce and will help make these plants even better places to work.”
Bourbon to Flow Again on Monday
With the week long strike at an end, the bourbon is expected to be flowing again on Monday. Cheers to that!