UPDATE: Jim Beam Distillery strike comes to an end as union members approve the companies latest offer. Workers expected to return to work on Monday, October 24, 2016. More details about the new two year agreement here.
There may be a boom in brown spirits but not everyone is happy. Jim Beam employees that are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 111D have voted 201 to 19 to go on strike.
The Union represents workers at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont and the Booker Noe Distillery in Boston, Kentucky. If no new agreement is reached, workers could go on strike as early as Friday, October 14 at midnight.
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No details of the reason for the rejection have been provided. The Kentucky Standard shared the following statements from Beam Suntory’s Vice President of Bourbon Affairs, Kevin Smith.
“We value the positive relationship we have with our UFCW associates at our Clermont and Boston facilities, and we have worked constructively with their negotiating committee and a federal mediator to develop a very attractive new contract over 33 days of bargaining. We are seeking to understand the reasons why the union membership voted down this competitive two-year contract proposal unanimously recommended by their own representatives. The proposal includes substantial wage increases, coupled with other enhancements including elimination of the two-tiered wage system for almost all employees.”
In a statement released by Union President Janelle Mudd she said the strike occurred after three extensions and the assistance of a federal mediator.
She said, “The recommendation of the negotiating committee to bring the offer to a vote was based on its determination that it was the best that the company was willing to offer.”
Jim Beam was acquired by the Japanese company Suntory Holdings as part of an estimated $16 billion deal in 2014. Suntory also owns Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, Kentucky but that is a non-union distillery.
That oft heard threat of a bourbon shortage could come true in no time at all. We’ll keep you posted with updates.