Anheuser-Busch Reaches Tentative Deal With Teamsters, Potentially Avoiding Strike


Anheuser-Busch and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year contract for thousands of workers, potentially avoiding a strike that could have idled a dozen breweries around the country.

The union said it struck a deal with the company Wednesday afternoon after weeks of stalled negotiations. Sean O’Brien, the union’s president, said in a statement that the agreement “sets a new high standard for the brewing industry.”

Workers must still vote on whether to accept the contract, with ballots expected to be cast next week.

Anheuser-Busch, which is owned by the Belgian beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, said it was happy to have reached a tentative deal. A work stoppage could shut down production of some of the country’s most popular beers, including Bud, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra and Stella Artois, as well as a stable of microbrews.

“The union said it struck a deal with the company Wednesday afternoon after weeks of stalled negotiations.”

“As America’s leading brewer, we take great pride in providing the best jobs in the beer industry and we look forward to formal ratification in the days ahead,” a spokesperson said in an email.

The union said the deal includes immediate raises of $4 per hour, with increases totaling $8 over the five years. The contract would also end a two-tier health care system in which new hires pay more than veteran workers, and would increase the maximum vacation accrual to eight weeks per year.

Workers previously told HuffPost they wanted Anheuser-Busch to guarantee jobs during the life of the contract, fearing the company might close breweries or shift jobs overseas. The Teamsters said the tentative deal includes “critical job security” but didn’t immediately release details.

The strike at Anheusder-Busch hit a dozen breweries in 11 states.

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“Anheuser-Busch knew our members were serious and prepared to do whatever it would take to get a fair agreement,” O’Brien said.

Anheuser-Busch is coming off of a rocky 2023. After the company collaborated with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney on a social-media promotion, right-wing commentators spurred a boycott that tanked Bud Light sales. Competing brand Modelo soon toppled Bud Light as the nation’s top-selling beer for the first time.

Despite the public relations debacle and falling revenue in the U.S., Anheuser-Busch InBev remained profitable thanks to its strong global sales across brands. Last fall the company inked a deal to make Bud Light the official beer of the mixed-martial arts organization UFC, and later made a pricey Super Bowl spot part of its image rehabilitation efforts.

Brewery workers told HuffPost in interviews ahead of the strike that they believed the company’s profits meant it could afford higher wages and better benefits. But one of their biggest priorities was securing contract language to protect their jobs. Workers said the volume of beer they’d been tasked with brewing had fluctuated significantly, making their earnings less predictable.

D.J. Edwards, a filler-operator at the company’s brewery in Jacksonville, Florida, said some workers had lost overtime opportunities due to the volume changes. He was among the 99% of Teamsters members who had authorized union leaders to declare a strike if the company offered a sub-par deal.

“We need to know they’re committed to keeping breweries open and keeping us employed,” Edwards said in January.



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