Union Approves Authorization for Possible Strike Against Bud Light Producer

The Teamsters union has announced that 99 percent of its members have voted to authorize a strike at Anheuser-Busch’s U.S. breweries if the union is unable to reach an agreement on a new labor contract with the beermaker by early next year. The union is seeking an agreement that would improve wages, protect jobs, and secure health care and retirement benefits for 5,000 of its members at 12 breweries operated by Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Bud Light and Budweiser. The current agreement expires on Feb. 29, 2024.

“If Anheuser-Busch’s executives can’t get their act together to negotiate an agreement that respects workers, we will see them out on the streets,” Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien said in a Dec. 16 statement.

The beermaker last month reached a tentative agreement with the Teamsters to restore some health care benefits. However, the union stated that the firm has delayed talks on job security issues since last month.

“Anheuser-Busch can’t kick this can down the road much longer,” Jeff Padellaro, an official with the Teamsters said in a statement. “The Teamsters don’t want to be forced onto the picket line at any employer, but we are fully prepared to walk if Anheuser-Busch doesn’t get serious about negotiating a record contract that also protects good union jobs.”

There are currently “no dates” scheduled for talks between the two parties, the Teamsters stated.

“Anheuser-Busch Teamsters recently rallied in New Hampshire, California, and Florida. More actions will take place soon across the country,” the labor union stated.

Anheuser-Busch hasn’t released a public comment on the matter; company officials didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

The threat of a strike by the union against Anheuser-Busch comes after the Teamsters reached agreement with United Parcel Service (UPS) over the summer to avert a possible strike. It included pay increases of $2.75 per hour in 2023 and $7.50 over the length of the five-year contract. Under that deal, full-time drivers can have an average top rate of $49 per hour and a raise of $21 per hour for part-time workers. The deal also provided UPS Teamsters members a day off on Martin Luther King Day.

The Teamsters announcement comes as Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light has grappled with fallout over a promotional effort that involved a transgender activist and influencer earlier this year, leading to a boycott that has adversely impacted the brand’s U.S. sales for months.

Amid the backlash, the beermaker’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, recorded a 13.5 percent drop in its U.S. revenue per 100 liters during the third quarter of 2023, according to a quarterly report released on Oct. 31. Months before that, it was reported that Modelo Especial, owned by New York-based Constellation Brands, overtook Bud Light after decades as the No. 1-selling beer in the United States.

About a month ago, the firm stated that it would be parting ways with chief U.S. marketing officer Benoit Garbe at the end of 2023.

“So, do I want to hold their head underwater and drown them because they made a mistake? No, I think they got the message,” said Kid Rock, whose real name is Bob Ritchie. “Hopefully, other companies get it too, but you know, at the end of the day, I don’t think the punishment that they’ve been getting at this point fits the crime,” he told Mr. Carlson. “I would like to see people get us back on board and become bigger because that’s the America that I want to live in.”

However, conservative commentator Matt Walsh said the boycott should continue.

“Bud Light is a brand owned by a foreign conglomerate that tried to push trans ideology and is now paying the price,” he said on Twitter. “There is absolutely no legitimate reason to back away or let off the gas. They deserve everything that’s happened to them.”

With the Teamsters decision to possibly strike against Anheuser-Busch, the situation continues to evolve and impact the brewing company’s operations and image. This news will surely have a significant consequence that will be followed by many, as both sides work to reach a mutual understanding amid growing tensions.

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