At America’s Biggest Beverage Maker, A Walkout May Be Next On Tap

( — On Thursday, February 29, the contract for the teamsters who work at Anheuser-Busch InBev will expire. According to Michael Silva, principal officer of Teamsters Local #919, they’ve been in negotiations since October. They’ve announced that if they don’t have a satisfactory contract by Friday, March 1, they are prepared to strike.

In a statement on February 2, Anheuser-Busch accused Union leadership of walking out on the negotiations, cancelling the last four bargaining sessions. The company claims their priority is to forge an agreement where they can recognize and reward commitment, talent, and drive among their workers. The strike would affect operations at 12 breweries, but the company says that they have plans in place to continue operations if the strike goes forward.

The negotiations have several issues, but the one that seems to be the most serious sticking point is the demand for job security. The contract that is about to expire has in it a provision that the breweries cannot be closed down. Silva says that when the teamsters brought up a similar job immunity clause for their new five-year contract, the company essentially walked away from the table. Other issues still to be resolved include pay increases and improved benefit packages.

Anheuser-Busch, which manufactures such popular beer labels as Budweiser, Bud Light, and Michelob Ultra, as well as Stella Artois, has been having a rough time of it lately due to the Bud Light boycott that began almost a year ago when many of the brand’s most dedicated consumers took offense at the company using a transgender TikToker for a sponsorship campaign. Silva points out that a company that has spent $21 million in commercials and like to highlight their use of American workers in American factories as a point of pride, should be ready and willing to give those workers their “fair share.” He added that these days the teamsters have been using “This round is on you” as their motto.

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