InBev Buys Anheuser Busch

July 14, 2008: It’s official. InBev will take over Anheuser-Busch to become the largest brewer in the world—leaving Teamsters to worry about their jobs and their future.

The deal came after InBev upped its offer to $70 per share, from $65.

InBev CEO Carlos Brito says he wants to trim A-B’s costs in the U.S. by $1.5 billion by 2011.

InBev’s management has a brutal reputation, and Forbes says job cuts are “widely expected.”

Many of the early victims of job cuts are likely to be nonunion employees in the company’s corporate office, as well as marketing and administrative employees.

On a conference call on July 12, InBev told industry analysts that it will keep all twelve of Anheuser-Busch’s breweries open, and that it does not expect job cuts among union employees.

But a recent report in Reuters warned that InBev may seek to cut costs by replacing full-time union jobs with part-time jobs.

Members at the Baldwinsville, N.Y. brewery have already seen some job loss this year. “About ten members have retired in Brewing, Brewing Maintenance, and Packaging, but management hasn’t filled those positions,” reports Katie Brutcher, a maintenance Teamster in Local 1149.

InBev has made no guarantee that it will keep all union jobs.

Talks for our new contract will start in 2009. InBev will be watching to see if we stick together. “If ever there was a time to be a union, now’s the time,” Brutcher said.

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