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Four Roses Bourbon workers on strike, reject concessions

By Fight Back

Four Roses Bourbon workers on the picket line.

Lawrenceburg, KY – Workers at Four Roses Bourbon went on strike Sept. 7, rejecting a concession-filled contract. The striking workers are represented by UFCW Local 10D, UFCW Local 23D and NCFO Local 320. The strike took place after a 100% strike authorization vote at the Lawrenceburg and Cox Creek plants.

The workers are striking over a proposed two-tier system, changes to paid-time-off and sick time, and a change to the bidding procedure for jobs. The proposed two-tier system would mean newly hired employees would be making less money than current employees and would never be able to catch up to current employees. New employees would also only receive ten sick days a year and no short-term disability.

“The employees feel that this two-tier scale is going to separate the workforce,” said Tim Norris recording secretary for UFCW Local 23D. “The company didn’t want to negotiate and a lot of this has to do with right-to-work. Companies feel that they don’t have to sit down with the union and they can just bust the union and get it out of their hair.”

Workers also worry that the two-tier system will damage the close relations co-workers have with one another and destroy the family atmosphere of the workforce. In 2016, Jim Beam employees went on strike to eliminate the two-tier system that had been in place for years. “Jim Beam employees had found that the two-tier scale did not work,” said Norris, “They found out the same thing that these guys are fearing.”

The last contract went smoothly but after new management took over, things sharpened up. Management waited until the contract was almost expired, asked for an extension and then waited one day before the extension was up to present the unions with the concessionary contracts.

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