(Buffalo, N.Y.) – At the Labatt Blue Pond Hockey tournament this weekend, Teamster members distributed information to fans about Heidelberg Distributing’s abusive behavior towards its drivers and warehouse workers. Heidelberg distributes Labatt Beer products in Ohio.
At the hockey tournament, the Teamsters handed out leaflets and displayed banners that stated, “Labatt Beer: What the Puck?” and “Labatt Is On Thin Ice.”
Heidelberg workers voted to join Teamsters Local Union 284 and Local 377 in 2013. Since then, both groups of workers have been trying to negotiate first contracts with Heidelberg, but the company is unyielding in its insistence that Columbus and Youngstown workers pay more for their health care than Heidelberg workers in other locations.
Heidelberg also fired workers who were strong union supporters, and even fired workers for getting robbed while making deliveries.
“We think the greater Buffalo community needs to know what kind of company Labatt is using to distribute its products in Ohio,” said Paul Suffoletto, President of Teamsters Local 284 in Columbus. “Heidelberg is hurting American families by trying to force workers to pay expensive health care premiums. Buffalo is a union town and its people have always supported workers across North America that are being trampled upon by companies such as Heidelberg.”
Heidelberg was forced to settle with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for illegally terminating workers who supported the union. The company paid the workers $30,000 in the settlement. The NLRB also found that Heidelberg illegally refused to bargain with its workers.
“The Miller and Vontz families who own this company are currently spending untold thousands of dollars on lawyers to sue each other and fight amongst themselves,” said Sam Cook, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 377 in Youngstown, Ohio. “It is unconscionable that Heidelberg continues to break federal labor laws that protect workers’ rights, and that the owners seem to have no interest in supporting the communities that have made them wealthy many times over.
“One thing people have to understand about the Teamsters is that no matter where the fight is, we always stick together.”
Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.