Another round of voting produced the same results in a labor dispute for the company behind Jim Beam whiskey, as workers at two Kentucky distilleries rejected a revised contract offer Friday with a strike looming.
The Friday vote came hours before a looming strike at the world’s largest bourbon producer.
United Food and Commercial Workers union official Tommy Ballard says workers at Beam distilleries in Clermont and Boston rejected a revised contract proposal by a wide margin.
The union released a statement late Friday night:
This afternoon, members of United Food and Commercial Workers 111D voted on the tentative agreement reached by management and the union bargaining teams during negotiations Thursday, October 13, 2016. The vote was 174-46 not to accept the agreement, therefore, employees of the Beam Suntory locations in Clermont and Boston will be on strike as of midnight tonight. While there are numerous reasons for this decision, the main issues we wish to resolve reflect the family values and heritage upon which the Jim Beam brand is based. We seek a better work/life balance. We strive to protect our positions and seniority so as to ensure our future. We want management changes that will improve safety and quality. And, we need a contract in which all language is clear and concise to avoid future misinterpretations
President Local 111D UFCW
The American whiskey brand is owned by Suntory Holdings Ltd., a Japanese beverage company.
The current contract runs through Friday. Earlier in the week, union members voted overwhelming in favor of going on strike after rejecting the company’s offer.
The company came back with a revised offer.
Beam Suntory released a statement following Friday’s vote:
Jim Beam has implemented comprehensive contingency plans to keep operations running at its Clermont and Boston, Kentucky distilleries in view of the vote by its unionized workforce to go on strike after midnight tonight. The decision came after the hourly workers at these facilities voted down a revised contract proposal that had been unanimously endorsed by the union leadership after intensive negotiations in recent days with the assistance of a federal mediator.
“Our valued team members in Clermont and Boston voted down a revised contract negotiated in good faith all day yesterday and agreed to with union leaders,” said David Hunter, chief supply chain officer for Beam Suntory. “As a result, we have no choice but to implement our contingency plans to help ensure the continuity of our operations and supply of our products for our distributors, customers and consumers. Given our inventories and contingency plans, we currently do not anticipate shortages of Jim Beam or any other products made at these facilities. We hope that these team members will reconsider the attractive terms offered and ultimately support the proposal.”
The revised proposal addressed union concerns in areas including overtime and temporary workers, and also included wage increases.