January 26, 2017

Sisters and Brothers of the Brewery Council,

For those of you that are not aware my Union, CUBGW LOCAL 325, went on strike on January 12/17. As we know going on strike is the last resort a Union has when it has no other choice due to its employer being unreasonable at the bargaining table!

Our collective agreement with Molson Coors expired on Dec 31/16 and we had been in negotiations from Oct 31 – Dec 15. Throughout the process Molson Coors was seeking significant CONCESSIONS with their constant rhetoric that the Union was not meeting “THEIR NEEDS”! This is after they just completed the purchase of Miller USA in Oct, as well as the purchase of the European StarBev Breweries in 2013.  These acquisitions now place Molson Coors as the 3rd largest brewery in the world.  The executives of the company continue to earn a lucrative pay structure including preferred share options, whilst demanding major concessions at the bargaining table, even though the Company is earning handsome profits.

They were demanding the members pay significantly towards their pensions and benefit plans, and which did not include any increases in coverage of either benefit. They also demanded the end to all post retirement benefits during the term of the new agreement. They were against increasing the rate pay for our newer members, who are on a graduated pay scale (hired after Jan 1/10), to not more than 85% over 7 years vs pre 2010 members. These members do the same work, in the same conditions and deserved to have “equal pay for equal work”. Our Bargaining Team throughout the process offered major concessions just to try and maintain a majority of our current language.  These included; changes to the way training is offered and performed; the elimination of roles within the maintenance dept; reduction in OT rate of pay; the ability for the company to offer & schedule weekend work for operators at straight time (3 shifts of 12hrs); and the company to have the option of hiring temporary employees for up to 2 years without obtaining seniority.  

The Company declared an “Impasse” on Dec 16/16, which led to a “no board report” being issued on Dec 23/16. Therefore as of Jan 9/17 the parties were in a strike/lockout position.  On Dec 27/16 our Membership voted 99.7% in favour of strike action. On Jan 10th, after failed conciliation, we gave the Company a strike deadline of Jan 12/17 @ 12:00pm pending any further offer. That morning they made an “offer” through e-mail which they stated was their last offer. This offer was totally unacceptable to the Union based on the number of concessions that were made.

To us, it became quite evident that no matter what the Union was willing to offer we would have never met “THEIR NEEDS”! It became clear that the direction of negotiations was coming from the corporate offices in Golden Colorado, chaired by Pete Coors. THEY WERE OUT TO BREAK LOCAL 325!

Our Union’s ask of our fellow Sisters and Brothers, your Local Unions and National Union offices to please support us in any way you can: either through messages of solidarity, joining us on our picket lines, and honouring our picket lines. We also seek all your members, family and friends to BOYCOTT Molson Coors products that are being imported from the USA that are taking away jobs from Canadian Brewery Workers. These brands are; Coors Banquet (produced at non-union plants), Miller Lite and Miller Genuine Draft.  

We respectfully ask that you send a clear loud message to Molson Coors to return to the bargaining table. Offer a fair contract, in good faith, to the Members of Local 325 that meets their needs as well as the needs of their families.

You can follow us @ www.component325.ca, our Local Union’s site; or our National Unions site www.nupge.ca. On both sites you can link to our Facebook page, Canadian Union of Brewery Workers, for messages of strength and solidarity.


In Solidarity,
Brian Sturrock
Corresponding Secretary