Skip to Content

Teamsters, Anheuser-Busch reach tentative deal to avert a strike

<i>Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Getty Images via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Bottles of Stella Artois brand beer move along the production line at the Anheuser-Busch Budweiser bottling facility in St. Louis
Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Getty Images via CNN Newsource
Bottles of Stella Artois brand beer move along the production line at the Anheuser-Busch Budweiser bottling facility in St. Louis

By Chris Isidore and Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN

New York (CNN) — Anheuser-Busch and the Teamsters union have reached a tentative contract agreement that averts a strike of 5,000 union members who had been prepared to walk out at midnight Thursday.

The Teamsters say the deal will grant members an immediate $4 an hour raise and an $8 an hour increase over the life of the contract, raising pay of members by an average of 23%.

“After a long day and a longer campaign, we’ve reached an agreement that sets a new high standard for the brewing industry,” said Teamsters President Sean O’Brien in a statement Wednesday evening.

Anheuser-Busch, the nation’s largest brewer, also praised the deal.

“We are pleased to have reached a tentative bargaining agreement … that continues to recognize and reward the talent, commitment, and hard work of our employees while also positioning the company for long-term success,” said the statement from the company.

It was a sharp shift from just hours earlier. The two sides met at the bargaining table Wednesday, with the strike deadline looming. The Teamsters left the meeting calling the Anheuser-Busch offer inadequate.

“The new offer that Anheuser-Busch put on the table this morning continues to ignore many of the Teamsters’ key issues. They are lowballing workers on wages, they’re not investing enough money in our members’ pensions, and they’ve made no firm commitment on job protections,” said O’Brien in his statement mid-afternoon.

But just before 7 pm ET, the deal was announced. The deal includes critical job security for members, the union said. And in addition to the increase in hourly pay members will get a $2,500 signing bonus, increased vacation accrual and what the union described as restoration of retirement benefits for both active and retired members.

The deal still needs to be ratified by rank-and-file Teamsters at the company before it can take effect.

The deal comes nearly two weeks after 400 members of the union had already gone on strike at one of the five US breweries of Anheuser-Busch rival Molson Coors in Fort Worth, Texas. Molson Coors management said it had been able to meet customer needs using inventories it built up, increased capacity at other plants and management employees continuing some operations in Fort Worth. Those workers remain on strike.

“Molson Coors should pay close attention to the bar we’ve set today for brewery workers across the country,” said O’Brien in the statement announcing the Anheuser-Busch deal.

The deal comes following a difficult year for Anheuser-Busch, in which sales of its Bud Light brand were badly hurt by a boycott from some conservatives who objected to the company’s decision to use transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in a social media promotion for its Bud Light brand.

Bud Light would subsequently lose its title as the bestselling US beer brand, and AB-Inbev, Anheuser-Busch’s European owner, reported that its overall revenue per 100 liters, a key measure of beer sales, fell 13.5% in the third-quarter last year. It is due to report full-year results early Thursday.

Strikes have become much more common in the last year, as the economy recorded the greatest number of major walkouts in 20 years. The unions have found significant success in negotiations — both from those following through with strikes and from those that reached deals that averted walkouts.

Nearly 1 million union members won immediate pay raises of 10% or more in contracts reached during 2023, according to an analysis by CNN, with most of those gains coming in the course of the second half of the year. One of the biggest wins by unions was the Teamsters deal with UPS, which prevented what would have been a strike by about 340,000 members.

This story has been updated with additional reporting and context.

™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Business/Consumer

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content