Shots All Around: How Four Roses Bourbon Workers Won Their Strike

Becker, Richard
Date Written:  2019-01-08
Publisher:  In These Times
Year Published:  2019
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23257

Four Roses Bourbon Worked successfully striked over a two-tier contract proposal that would have given worse benefits to new hires.



Two-tier contracts are bad for solidarity. They spark resentment and erode a union's position among newer workers, especially in a "right-to-work" state like Kentucky, where union membership is voluntary.

"Why should I support the union," new workers may ask, "if the union sold me out before I even showed up?"

To get two-tier contracts past current members, employers count on short-term self-interest. Four Roses, which was offering unusually large signing bonuses, claimed implausibly that the new system would be better for current workers and provide more flexibility and choice to new workers.

The company continuously reminded workers that the proposed changes would apply only to new hires. But the workers didn't budge.


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