Teamsters Rally for A-B
Aug 18, 2008 - Hundreds of St. Louis Teamsters and families rallied today in downtown St. Louis to show support for Anheuser-Busch workers nationwide in the wake of the purchase of the iconic American beer company by Belgium-based brewing giant InBev. Carrying rally signs that said "InBev: Keep Your Promises!," rally participants, along with Teamster trucks, overflowed Kiener Plaza next to the famous St. Louis Arch.
"For more than a hundred years, Teamsters and many other hardworking union members have made Budweiser and Anheuser-Busch the great American brand that it is today," said Jack Cipriani, Director of the Teamsters Brewery and Soft Drink Conference and International Vice President. "Good jobs like those at A-B help our local communities grow. They provide access to good health care and the promise of a secure retirement."
The Teamsters Brewery and Soft Drink Workers Conference represents more than 7,000 employees of Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. in the United States and Canada. Today's rally was co-sponsored by Missouri Jobs with Justice and included speakers and participants from InBev unions worldwide, the St. Louis Labor Council and employees from all 12 Anheuser-Busch breweries in the United States.
"We are here today to honor all of the workers at Anheuser-Busch and to tell InBev that winning the loyalty of the workforce is key to the company's success in the 21st century and beyond," Cipriani said.
InBev has promised to keep open Anheuser's 12 U.S. breweries and to retain St. Louis as the company's North American headquarters. During the upcoming contract negotiations the Teamsters plan to press Anheuser Busch to agree to this commitment in the labor contract.
At the rally, Union leaders representing InBev employees worldwide including Europe, Latin America and Canada announced an agreement to form a global alliance of InBev workers through the International Union of Food Workers (IUF). Paul Garver of the IUF stated, "InBev workers worldwide are building a strong, unified voice to insure fair treatment at the breweries and in our communities."
"Our priorities are protecting good-paying American jobs and their communities, as well as preserving health care and pension benefits for all workers," Cipriani said. "We urge InBev to keep its promises to its workers and the great communities like St. Louis that helped build Anheuser-Busch."
Hundreds of working men and women at the rally included long-time Anheuser-Busch employees, many of whom have spent their entire working life at the St. Louis brewery.
"I want to make sure that all of the younger employees get the same benefits I am going to get when I retire," said Tommy Davis, a 30-year employee of the St. Louis brewery. "I just want InBev to keep their promises."