October 7, 2006: The International Union has inked a deal with Anheuser-Busch that provides for major raises, but questions remain on job protection and retiree healthcare.
The five-year deal comes five months before the contract is scheduled to expire, and in the shadow of the take-over of Anheuser-Busch by InBev, a Belgian-Brazilian company, soon to be the largest brewer in the world.
Full-time Bud Teamsters will get annual raises of 90¢, 80¢, 75¢, 75¢, and 75¢ over the life of the contract. Weekenders and seasonals will get smaller increases.
Plant Closing Loopholes?
The tentative agreement commits the company to keep open all twelve A-B breweries over the life of the agreement.
But there may be loopholes.
A-B Teamsters are reporting that there may be loopholes in the new agreement for acts of God, an increase in the government excise tax, or economic hardship.
Bud Teamsters need to study the fine print closely and decide if these protections are strong enough.
Retiree Healthcare Costs
The new deal will also increase the costs of healthcare for retirees—a move many Bud Teamsters warned against.
Starting in 2013, retirees will pay a $500 deductible for family coverage. That deductible will go up to $1,000 the next year.
Retirees under the age of 65 will pay no premiums. Retirees over the age of 65 will also pay a monthly premium of $100 for family coverage.
“We’re having a local meeting this Thursday to go over the new contract, and I have a lot of questions,” said Katie Brutcher, a Local 1149 Teamster at the Baldwinsville, N.Y. brewery. “We need to ask the hard questions now so we can make an informed choice on this contract.”