August 21, 2008: The first round of Bud contract talks since Belgian-Brazilian brewer InBev bought Anheuser-Busch wraps up today, with few surprises so far.
According to initial reports, management and the union brought only a few proposals to this round of talks, which dealt with local issues.
Talks will resume at the end of September, when the national negotiating committee will meet to discuss the national contract.
Our union’s contract with A-B covers over 7,000 brewery workers and expires March 1, 2009.
Big Issues Not Covered Yet
Most of the big issues will not be discussed until national talks start next month.
Concerns over healthcare costs and job security are at the top of the list for many Bud Teamsters.
The contract could be wrapped up before A-B’s merger with InBev goes through, but that does not mean A-B Teamsters are safe.
A-B’s board approved the merger earlier this summer, but the merger will take several more months to complete.
InBev’s CEO Carlos Brito has a reputation for brutal cost-cutting, and he’s pledged to trim $1.5 billion in operating costs from A-B by 2011.
Contract talks are still in the hands of the old A-B management. But Teamsters can be sure that InBev’s bean-counters will be paying close attention.
InBev has pledged they will not shut down any of A-B’s breweries. At a rally on Saturday, our bargaining team demanded they put that promise in writing in the new contract.
That’s a demand we can all get behind.
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