March 2, 2024

Teamsters, Anheuser-Busch reach new 5-year contract


The contract agreement reached this week between the Teamsters union and Anheuser-Busch, averting a strike that could have begun Friday, calls for wage increases of $8 an hour over the five years of the deal. A $4-per-hour raise kicks in immediately.

Anheuser-Busch (NYSE: BUD) announced the deal late Wednesday. It awaits ratification in the coming days by approximately 5,000 workers across the company’s U.S. operations. 

The new contract also calls for a $2,500 ratification bonus.

As to whether ratification is likely, any worker dissatisfaction with Teamsters contracts generally shows up through the dissident Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), which is often critical of deals struck by the union’s negotiators. However, TDU notably was supportive of the union’s deal with UPS and more recently backed a new contract at U.S. Foods.

TDU comments on its website regarding the deal at Anheuser-Busch were noncommittal. It noted the length of the deal, the wage increases and other changes in benefits, and said only that Teamsters members at the brewery would “be able to review all contract changes before the ratification vote, which is expected to be held next week.”

The breakdown of how many of those 5,000 workers are truck drivers and warehouse employees was not immediately available from the union.

In its prepared statement announcing the contract agreement, Anheuser-Busch said the deal “builds even further upon our existing industry-leading package of wages, healthcare, and retirement benefits, and it includes significant commitments to job security.”

“At Anheuser-Busch, we have said time and again that our people are our greatest strength, and we are incredibly pleased to have reached a tentative agreement that continues to recognize the talent, dedication, and hard work of our teams, while also positioning the Company for long-term success,” Brendan Whitworth, CEO of  Anheuser-Busch, said in the statement.

The Teamsters statement on the deal was more detailed. In its bullet point list of provisions in the contract, the union said that besides the hourly wage increases, the pact provides:

  • –“Significant job security for all 5,000 Teamsters at Anheuser-Busch, including brewers, packagers, and warehouse workers.”
  • –An average wage increase of 23% over the five years of the deal.
  • –“An end to two-tier health care, providing all workers with the same high-quality Teamsters health care coverage.”
  • –“Increased pension contributions and benefits nationwide.”
  • –“Increased maximum vacation accrual to 8 paid weeks.”
  • –“Restoration of retirement benefits for active and retired members.”

The Teamsters are on strike at a brewery operated by Molson Coors (NYSE: TAP) in Fort Worth, Texas. Teamsters President Sean O’Brien, celebrating the contract with Anheuser-Busch, noted that the union “continue[s] to hold the line at Molson Coors in Texas.” That company, O’Brien said, “should pay close attention to the bar we’ve set today for brewery workers across the country.”

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