Four Roses union workers went on strike on Friday afternoon, after they were left aggrieved by contract negotiations with the Japanese-owned distillery. Approximately 53 workers from three local unions protested outside the company’s Lawrenceburg distillery and its bottling facility in Bullitt County, WKYT reports.
The strike, led by union leaders from the UFCW Local 10D, UFCW Local 23D, and NCFO 320, comes after contract negotiations broke down between employees and the distillery. Workers are said to be dissatisfied with proposed changes to sick leave, seniority rights, and vacation time.
The Kentucky distillery will celebrate its 130th anniversary this year, and recently completed a $55 million expansion that will double its capacity. The increased capacity should see a boost in profits for the distillery, at a time when workers feel their benefits are being taken away.
“The company’s booming and they’re only wanting to offer us two dollars over a five-year period, and last time we got $2.50, and we feel like that’s a slap in our faces,” Four Roses employee, Joe Marshall, told WKYT.
While the distillery has made some concessions to meet employee demands, the compromises will only affect current workers. Union leaders are worried that this will create a “two-tier” system between existing employees and new recruits.
Speaking to WKYT, president of UFCW Local 10D Jeff Royalty said, “It creates animosity and it’s like a cancer. It will eat away at the union. It will dissolve the family atmosphere.”
In August, Four Roses employees also took out a newspaper advertisement in The Anderson News, calling the distillery’s offer, “the worst contract proposal since Prohibition.”
“When will the corporate greed be satisfied?” the advertisement said.
At press time, Four Roses has not commented on Friday’s strike, nor the ongoing contract negotiations.