UPDATE US: Miller workers authorise strike option
The group of 120 clerical staff allegedly facing a pension freeze at Miller Brewing have voted "overwhelmingly" in favour of possible strike action against the brewer.
According to the Milwaukee-based Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 35, which represents the workers, parent group SABMiller plans to replace existing pension plans with a US$2 an hour savings plan and a 1% wage increase.
Judy Burnick, business manager of OPEIU Local 35, said: "Our members have worked for Miller for 20 or more years in anticipation of a secure retirement. Now, the company is seeking to take that dream away."
OPEIU Local 35 also said that SABMiller is lining up a new health insurance plan meaning extra medical and pharmaceutical costs for the clerical staff, most of who are over the age of 50.
A Miller Brewing spokesperson told just-drinks: "Taking a strike authorisation is not uncommon at this stage. We do not discuss issues during the negotiation process, and keep this at the bargaining table.
"We are still in talks with the OPEIU and as negotiations continue we hope that an agreement to suit all parties will be reached."
Earlier this year, Miller faced the threat of strike action at three breweries over healthcare payments but struck deals that gave workers a pay increase and a cut in employee healthcare contributions.
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