(MINNEAPOLIS) — Beer truck drivers out of the largest beer distributor in the state of Minnesota have gone on strike over proposed unsafe working conditions. The 95 drivers, members of Local 792 in Minneapolis, have been in contract negotiations with J.J. Taylor since February.
“Our members are dedicated employees who want to work hard, safe, and return home without injury,” said Larry Yoswa, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 792. “The company’s last, best and final offer was soundly rejected. It contained a clause requiring drivers working by themselves to carry and deliver beer kegs, some weighing 175 pounds each.”
In the past, the delivery of beer kegs was handled by a driver and a helper working together. Many times these deliveries require kegs to be delivered up or down several flights of stairs. To do this with two people is difficult; doing it alone would be unsafe and hazardous. Ironically, the company has hired temporary workers to deliver during the strike and each truck has gone out with a driver and a helper.
This is a system which has worked for over 30 years and has brought great success to this company. Now the company wants to cut corners at the expense of safety.
“I’ll be out here on the strike line as long as it takes to make sure we have a safe place to work,” said Dan Dahlberg, a driver. ”While we are paid good wages, what good is it if we can’t enjoy time with our family free from injuries and pain?”
These beverage workers are part of the Teamsters Brewery and Soft Drink Workers Conference which represents over 15,000 employees of breweries across the country.