On Dec 20, with most of the nation going into full-on Christmas mode, Anchor Brewing, its management and workers, celebrated the signing of the first union contract in the San Francisco-based brewery’s 123 year history.
Founded in 1896, Anchor Brewing was purchased by Fritz Maytag in 1965. In 2010 Maytag sold Anchor Brewing to Bay Area entrepreneurs Keith Greggor and Tony Folio’s Griffin Group. And in 2017 Japan’s Sapporo brewery acquired the company.
“This is an important chapter in the history of the ILWU and in the history of one of the most storied and beloved beers in America,” said ILWU International Vice President Bobby Olvera Jr…
“We believe that being a union-made beer is a selling point for Anchor. When people drink Anchor, they’ll be supporting fair wages and benefits for the workers who make and serve this outstanding and unique product.”
In a press release touting the historic contract, Scott Ungermann, Brewmaster for Anchor Brewing seemed equally upbeat…
“Anchor has a storied history and enduring commitment to making great beers and valuing the people who brew them. We look forward to a strong future together with the newly formed union.”
Key components of the Anchor union contract include:
- Substantial compensation increases for employees over the next 3 years. (Increase amounts vary based on seniority and position, but in the first year of the contract, on average, workers represented by ILWU Local 6 will receive an approximate 8% increase in wages and benefits).
- Time and a half pay for all employees who work on a company recognized holiday.
- Maintenance of quality health insurance, with Anchor paying 85% of the premium for employees and 50% for dependents.
- Enhanced 401(k) with additional employer contributions tied to brewery production to promote shared interest.
- Paid 1/2 hour lunch periods instead of unpaid lunch breaks, which are the industry norm.
- Paid Time Off now extended to part-time workers, formerly only full timers qualified.
- Pay for a portion of any sick time that employees accrue beyond their cap on hours for both full- and part-time employees.
Under the new contract, junior workers in the brewery will receive an immediate increase from $16.50 per hour to $18.50 per hour starting immediately in the new year. By the end of the third year of the contract, they will be earning a little over $21 an hour.
At Public Taps, Anchor’s experimental brewhouse and taproom, most of the bartenders and bar backs will receive an immediate increase from $15.60 an hour to $18.25 an hour as of January 1, 2020, and by the end of the contract they will be making an average of nearly $20 an hour.
This union organizing effort which began last February along with the International Longshoremen & Warehouse Union and help from the San Francisco chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, comes at pivotal time as the craft beer industry “matures.”