Union Organizing Effort Begins At Anchor Brewing

If this effort is successful, what many consider the nation’s first craft brewery, will become the first with a union shop.

Here’s what we know…

On Thursday the labor organizing committee who are spearheading this effort along with the International Longshoremen & Warehouse Union and help from the San Francisco chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, issued a letter to management according to Splinter.

Anchor Brewing, which produces approximately 130,000 barrels annually was purchased by Sapporo USA in 2017 and in the eyes of the Brewers Association, a Boulder-based trade organization, are no longer considered to be authentically “craft.”

Letter from Anchor employees:

February 7, 2019

We represent the Organizing Committee of our union at Anchor Brewing Company/Sapporo USA (ABC-SUSA) San Francisco. We are writing to request that you formally recognize our union, the ILWU.

We’re proud to be Anchor, and we want Anchor to provide good jobs again. Anchor is a San Francisco tradition. It used to be one of its best places to work—and it can be again.

Anchor workers should be paid enough to live in San Francisco. We’re struggling to survive and raise our families. The work we do is exhausting—and we have to keep moving farther away and driving longer to survive. We deserve a chance to be #anchoredinsf too.

Anchor management should remain neutral and not interfere with our right to form a union. San Francisco is a union-friendly town that respects working families, not union busters.

With our union we will work to create a work place that is collaborative and supportive while setting high standards for quality product, quality benefits and good wages.

We hope and trust that Anchor Brewing Company-Sapporo USA will respect our decision to form our union and recognize us. If Anchor Brewing Company refuses to recognize our union and collectively bargain with us we will file for an election with the National Labor Relations Board. If Anchor Brewing Company insists on this process, then we call on Anchor to be a lawful and respectful employer without resorting to intimidation or coercion. This includes:

• Threatening to close our facility, limit our shifts;

• Promising promotions, raises or other benefits as a means to bargain individually;

• Having corporate or local management—including supervisors/managers- question us about our union support, activities or any other behavior that attempts to discourage us from participating in our organization;

• Bringing in outside management or consultants to “educate” us or intimidate us about our decision to participate in our union.

We thank you for your time and attention and look forward to working with Anchor Brewing – Sapporo USA’s management team in creating a more robust, collaborative and quality brewery.

This union organizing effort comes at pivotal time as the craft beer industry “matures.”

Years of double-digit growth slowed to 5% in 2018 and a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicating that “average weekly wages in breweries decreased 25 percent over the 2006–16 period.”

And although labor complaints in the industry have been largely a rarity, wage disputes at successful breweries like Trillium Brewing in Boston have started to attract national attention.

 

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