The union overseeing Bud Light’s thousands of truck drivers said its workers are prepared to strike after the brand’s parent company failed to bargain in good faith over compensation and benefits.
On Saturday the International Brotherhood of Teamsters announced that its members voted to authorize a strike, potentially stalling Anheuser-Busch deliveries across the nation amid a stall in discussions with company leadership. The walk-off would begin early next year if no labor agreement materializes in time.
“Teamsters stand firm in our fight for the best contract at Anheuser-Busch, and this powerful strike vote proves it,” said Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien. “Our members’ labor, talent, and sacrifice are what put Anheuser-Busch products on the shelf, and we are committed to getting a contract that rewards and recognizes their hard work.”
O’Brien added that 99 percent of his more than 5,000 drivers across 12 locations voted to authorize the strike, a sign of how frustrated members have become over poor pay and benefits while Anheuser-Busch still reels from the devastating effects of protests against Bud Light.
“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,” O’Brien said.
According to the Teamsters, both sides have reached deals on ending tiered health plans and restoring retiree health benefits, though they remain far apart when it comes to settling job security issues. The union also took issue with a recent move by the company to buy back more than $1 billion in stocks from shareholders, a move typically taken to artificially improve the price of shares.
A spokesman for Anheuser-Busch told Fox News, “Anheuser-Busch is aware of the Teamsters’ strike authorization vote, which is common during labor negotiations. We are committed to negotiating in good faith with the union to reach an agreement that recognizes and rewards the talent, commitment, and drive of our employees.”
For most of the year, the German beer company has stood by helplessly as its top-selling pilsner has plunged in the American market following an ill-conceived social media marketing partnership with a transgender influencer. Boycotts, which have continued since April, have cost Bud Light its spot among the top 10 most popular beers and forced bottlers and distributors to lay off hundreds of workers. The brand has offered everything from camo-printed cans to free beer to win back customers, and most recently begged distributors to keep their brew on shelves through the holiday season with special bonuses. In order to reshape its public image following pillories by celebrities and former President Donald Trump, Bud Light announced in October that it would be the newest partner for UFC arenas across the nation.