Teamsters target Bud Light parent Anheuser-Busch, Molson Coors

The union shut down Coors' Texas brewery and is threatening a nationwide strike at Anheuser-Busch

The Teamsters union appears ready to shut down work at two major beer companies at once, after striking at Molson Coors' Texas brewery over the weekend and warning it will do the same at all of Anheuser-Busch InBev's U.S. breweries if a new deal for workers is not reached by the end of the month.

The 420 members of Teamsters Local 997 walked off the job at Molson Coors' Fort Worth brewery on Saturday, after the labor union and the company failed to reach an agreement on a new three-year contract for workers.

Molson Coors employees picketing outside facility

Striking Molson Coors workers picket outside the company's Fort Worth, Texas, brewery on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. (International Brotherhood of Teamsters / Fox News)

In a press release announcing the move, the Teamsters said Molson Coors "presented insulting and regressive contract proposals, including offering less than a $1 per hour wage increase for the majority of Teamsters members."

The union said, "Local 997 is seeking pay raises that reflect the impact of inflation over the term of the expired contract and the elimination of two-tiered health care and retirement benefits."

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TAP MOLSON COORS BEVERAGE CO. 66.33 -1.50 -2.21%

Molson Coors Beverage Co.

When reached for comment by FOX Business on Monday, a Molson Coors spokesperson said the Teamsters had not yet responded to the company's last offer, which they said "exceeds market rates," but that the company remains "committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to everyone."

"While we respect the Union’s right to strike, we have strong contingency plans and are well equipped to ensure consumers will be able to buy their favorite Molson Coors products," said Adam Collins, Molson Coors’ chief communications officer. 

beer

A beer vendor holds Coors Light and Miller Lite beer cans during a game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field on June 24, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Molson Coors produces both the popular brands. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Collins added, "We already began producing and shipping from the Fort Worth brewery on Monday, our five other U.S. breweries have extra production capacity and we deliberately built up distributor inventories across the country."

Also on Monday, the Teamsters held a practice picket at Anheuser-Busch's Houston facility, gearing up for a strike that — if it comes into fruition — could have far-reaching impacts on the company.

A-B has a single master contract with the Teamsters for all 12 of their U.S. breweries, and that contract expires on Feb. 29. The Bud Light-maker's 5,000 Teamster member employees voted overwhelmingly in favor of approving the strike in December

The union says it is demanding a strong agreement from A-B that includes job security, pay raises, and improved health care and retirement for all workers.

Budweiser bottling facility St. Louis, Missouri

Signage is displayed as bottles of beer move along the production line at the Anheuser-Busch Budweiser bottling facility in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Getty Images / Getty Images)

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
BUD ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV 58.67 -1.06 -1.77%

Anheuser-Busch InBev

The latest update on negotiations from the Anheuser-Busch website from Feb. 2 states that union leadership had walked out of their latest talks after canceling the previous four.

"While our goal remains reaching a timely agreement that recognizes the talent, commitment and drive of our brewery employees, we continue to implement a number of precautionary measures to guarantee business continuity and continue serving our consumers," A-B's statement reads. "Come March 1, Anheuser-Busch is prepared to operate our breweries and keep beer stocked in the event there is a work stoppage."

When reached for comment Monday, an A-B spokesperson told FOX Business, "We’re aware of the Union demonstration at our Houston Brewery, which is common during labor negotiations, and our top priority remains securing a contract that recognizes and rewards our hardworking employees and prioritizes long-term security for the best jobs in the beer industry."

The spokesperson added, "As a precautionary measure, we have a robust continuity plan in place to ensure we will continue bringing our industry-leading brands to our valued customers and consumers across the country."

The Teamsters warned A-B last month that if the union's contract demands were not met, their members would not only walk out of the brewer's facilities nationwide, they would trigger another boycott against the company that is still suffering from a boycott launched by conservatives last year following Bud Light's partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

"Anheuser-Busch needs to check its moral compass," Teamsters President Sean O'Brien said in a statement in January. "They've ignored workers for months. They make up excuses to not come to the bargaining table."

Charlestown, MA - April 2: Teamsters president Sean O'Brien speaking at a rally with UPS workers before their national contract negotiations.  (Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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"They take our labor for granted while they pour millions into corporate advertising. It's a disgrace," O'Brien continued. "The Teamsters are more united than ever at Anheuser-Busch, and we are prepared for a full-scale strike and nationwide boycott."