Teamsters Push Boycott Of Molson Coors Beers During NCAA Final Four

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has a message for basketball fans: Don’t drink Molson Coors beers during the NCAA Final Four.

The union is boycotting the company’s products nationwide amid a strike at the Molson Coors facility in Fort Worth, Texas. Roughly 400 workers have been on the picket lines since Feb. 17 after failing to reach a new contract with the Canadian-American brewer.

The two sides have not met since a bargaining session last week in which the company increased its offer on wage raises by just a nickel per hour, according to Jeff Padellaro, director of the Teamsters’ brewery conference. Padellaro said the company had been offering wage hikes of 99 cents prior to that.

“In our opinion, they’re not looking to get an agreement; they’re looking to break the union,” Padellaro said. “They’re going to find out that’s a fool’s errand.”

Adam Collins, a spokesperson for Molson Coors, said the company had offered “highly competitive wages and benefits off an already strong base” and was “committed to reaching a fair agreement.” He insisted the company was getting along fine through the work stoppage.

“We’re still brewing, packaging and shipping out of Fort Worth ― in fact we’ve exceeded all of our weekly production expectations since the strike began ― and our other five U.S. breweries are absorbing extra production,” Collins said in a statement.

The boycott has been in place since mid-March, and the union has tried to amplify its message in recent days.

The Teamsters’ political director circulated a letter among lawmakers on Capitol Hill in late March asking that they not purchase Molson Coors products during the congressional recess. Lawmakers also received a flyer with the full boycott list, which includes Coors Light, Miller Light, Keystone, Milwaukee’s Best, the Yuengling family of beers and Topo Chico hard seltzer, among other beverages.

“We respectfully ask that your office does its part and temporarily boycott Molson Coors products until the company comes to a fair collective bargaining agreement … and instead buy your beer from employers like Anheuser Busch who treat their employees fairly,” the letter says.

From the union’s flyer:

The Teamsters distributed a flyer among lawmakers on Capitol Hill asking that they not purchase Molson Coors products during the strike.
The Teamsters distributed a flyer among lawmakers on Capitol Hill asking that they not purchase Molson Coors products during the strike.

The union reached a new contract with Anheuser-Busch in late February, avoiding a strike that could have hit a dozen breweries nationwide. The deal included immediate raises of $4 per hour and total increases of $8 over the five years of the agreement.

Padellaro said the offers from Molson Coors have not matched what workers received from the owner of the Budweiser and Bud Light brands.

“At the end of the day, Anheuser-Busch stepped up and did the right thing by workers and gave them a great contract,” he said. “Molson Coors is going to do the same at some point, but they want to kick and scream.”

The union has been holding demonstrations outside arenas where the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is taking place. Padellaro said Teamsters will be at State Farm Stadium in Phoenix this weekend as the Final Four gets underway.

“We’ll be asking everybody to boycott the Molson Coors products until such time as they recognize the value of their workers,” he said.

This isn’t the first time the Teamsters have asked drinkers to pass over the company’s brews. As Vinepair recently reported, the union played a significant role in a three-decade boycott of Coors that ran from 1957 to 1987.

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