Tapped Out? Potential Strike Could Impact Beer Market in New York
2023 was not a great year for the famous Anheuser-Busch company, known for their beer, specifically Budweiser and Bud Light and it appears that 2024 could be off to a rough start as well.
A Year of Controversy
For a number of years, Anheuser-Busch sat at the top of "Beer Mountain", as Bud Light had long been the top-selling beer in all of America. Things changed though in 2023 when Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light started an advertising partnership with social media personality Dylan Mulvaney.
The partnership was met with intense criticism as long-time fans of the King of Beers revolted and even boycotted Bud Light, refusing to buy let alone drink the product. The controversy carried on for months, the partnership quickly came to an end and Bud Light even lost its spot as the top-selling Beer in America. As of August 2023, the top-selling beer in America title now belongs to Modelo Especial.
Recovery for the brand has been a slow process but new problems have come from over the horizon and may soon be at Anheuser-Busch's front door.
Labor Negotiations and a Union Ready to Strike
For those that were unaware, the Teamsters Union is the union that represents the workers for Anheuser-Busch and are the people who carry out the labor that is making, producing and shipping the products to stores and supermarkets across the country.
The Teamsters according to a report from Yahoo representing approximately 5000 workers at 12 breweries located across America. One of the breweries happens to be here in New York, just outside of Syracuse in Baldwinsville. Anheuser-Busch and the Teamsters are currently in the middle of an intense labor contract negotiation and the union has already made it very clear what they want and what their intentions are.
According to the Yahoo report, the Teamsters are well and ready to take action. Members of the union voted at an astounding 99% in favor of striking if a fair agreement is not reached by February 29, otherwise in their words "...there won't be any beer by March".
Teamsters in the negotiations have made their demands clear as they seek "...significant wage increases, job security and enhanced retirement and benefits...". The threat of strike is also coming on the heels of a year where beer distribution declined...
For the first time since 1999, beer shipments were poised to dip below the 200 million barrel mark, showcasing a widespread downturn within the industry.
One final piece of information comes from an article by Spectrum News where it is stated that...
Teamsters says they have a strike fund of more than $300 million. The union on Monday announced it will pay Anheuser-Busch employees $1,000 a week.
Monday in this quote refers to this past Monday, February 5th. With approximately 3-weeks remaining until the Teamster's so-called deadline for the deal, it is very possible that anything can still happen. Until a pen is put to paper, everything else is just a negotiation tactic. The only question is, who's going to blink first?
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