Job Security Strengthens Agreement
After months of negotiations, members of Local 997 in Ft. Worth, Texas, now have a new contract with MillerCoors brewing company. The brewery production and warehouse workers, 420 in all, are now part of a 3-year agreement that maintains good wages and makes improvements on the vacation and pension plans.
“We were successful in negotiating a good contract for our members at MillerCoors,” said Rick Miedema, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 997. “And, we were able to even out the pension plan so that everyone has a flat rate, as opposed to a tiered system.”
Several items in the previous agreements drew divisive lines in the membership based on the employee’s tenure with the company. To the Teamsters credit, the local union bargaining committee was able to negotiate those challenges out of the new contract.
“With our new contract, we have three years of job security,” said Ronnie Bridgeman, a 42-year employee at the brewer. “And, I appreciate all the work our local union did for the negotiations. They did a lot of research on our health care and retirement.”
Bridgeman also emphasized how important job security was when compared to a friend of his who worked at the MillerCoors facility in Golden, Colorado. At that facility, which is non-union, employees have only been working 3 or 4 days a week. “With Local 997, we have a good contract,” Bridgeman said.
“Our contracts with MillerCoors are some of the strongest in the country ,” said Greg Nowak, Director of the Teamsters Brewery and Soft Drink Workers Conference. “We were able to assist the local union during the negotiations, and the result was a strong contract that will benefit the members. The next focus is our negotiations for our MillerCoors members at Local 896 at the Irwindale, California, brewery.”
The Ft. Worth MillerCoors facility is one of two represented by the Teamsters Brewery and Soft Drink Workers Conference. In all, 900 Miller workers are represented by the Teamsters.