The ownership of Moosehead Breweries walked away from contract negotiations and served a “lock out” notice late on Saturday, Feb 19, 2011. The Brewery Workers are a bargaining unit of N.B. Union of Public and Private Employees.
“It is truly unfortunate that management of Moosehead Breweries have brought an abrupt end to the negotiation process with their decision to lock out their workers.” said Tom Mann, Executive Director of N.B. Union. “There are 172 production and maintenance workers in that plant, some with generations of service and loyalty to Moosehead. It is in their blood as much as the ownership, or maybe we should say it is in their blood and sweat, and now their tears.”
Mann continued, “Both sides have been working at negotiations for months to renew the contract. We understand the challenges of the industry. We also understand the company’s success has been due to the family approach of working together. In negotiations – like a family – you follow and trust the process. We are astonished by the “lock out” tactic used by the company. ”
Moosehead’s unionized workforce has been key to the company’s success over the years, with a 45 year history of negotiated agreements. Global changes in the brewery industry have dominated the market. The need for highly skilled and loyal workers to make the product is key.
“We felt we were close (to an Agreement),” said Jeff Stoddard, President of Local 362 and worker at the plant since 1993. “Our members have a long relationship with this company. Moosehead has been their livelihood for generations. We care about our company’s success. We know we have success when we work together. That is how we and the company have lasted this long.”
Stoddard continued, “The Company’s barricading around the plant and locking out our members stops the process in its tracks,” stated Local 362 President Jeff Stoddard. “This was not our choice. In negotiations you have to trust the process.”
The NBU and Local 362 are committed to direct negotiations to resolve the remaining outstanding issues.