US: Union fears InBev brewery intentions
The US union Teamsters has said it is concerned about the reliability of InBev's commitments not to close any US breweries following its deal to acquire Anheuser-Busch.
In a statement issued yesterday (14 July) the union said: "In the wake of the news that A-B's board has accepted the offer from Belgian/Brazilian InBev, Teamsters across the country are questioning the reliability of InBev's commitments not to close any US breweries and not to cause 'any significant job losses' among the production workers."
In announcing the deal yesterday, InBev's CEO, Carlos Brito, said that, given the limited geographical overlap between the two businesses and the efficiency of A-B's brewery footprint in the US, all of A-B's US breweries will remain open.
"We know that Carlos Brito, InBev's chairman, has a reputation as a cost-slasher, and always at the expense of workers," said Jack Cipriani, director of the Teamsters Brewery and Soft Drink Workers Conference. "Given the record amount of debt tied to this acquisition, his commitments that he will not close any A-B plants in the US or cause significant production job losses raise major credibility issues for us."
Cipriani said he had requested a meeting with Brito to have him "reconcile these public commitments with the financial realities of the transaction".
In the coming weeks, Jim Hoffa, Teamsters general president, will host a meeting of Union representatives from InBev's other breweries in Europe, Brazil and Canada to hear directly from them about InBev's workplace conduct and to coordinate Teamster strategy to deal with InBev.
"Our core values include protecting good-paying American jobs and their communities, as well as preserving health care and pension benefits for all workers," Cipriani said. "We know that our European, Brazilian and Canadian counterparts have similar values. We look forward to learning about InBev from them and to seek their assistance as allies in our fight to protect our members."
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