Workers begin strike at City Brewing Company in Latrobe
Unionized workers at Latrobe’s City Brewing took to the picket line on Tuesday, halting work at the plant in what they called an unfair labor practices strike.
Brewery employees have been without a contract since March 3. They organized an information picket the next day, without work stoppage. The evening shift employees would picket during the day and the day shift employees would take over after their shift.
“They did not respond to our requests for information and unilaterally changed factory policies in retaliation for union activity at the factory,” said Local 22 President Bill Palmer. from the EUI-CWA, about the leadership.
City Brewing officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
At the March 4 picket, Palmer said management had tried to remove seniority rights that allowed employees to choose their shifts, alleging that management had “tried to circumvent seniority all the way.” long negotiations”.
The union represents approximately 50 members at the Latrobe plant. UIE-CWA Local 144 represents approximately 145 employees.
Unions have three pending unfair labor complaints filed with the National Labor Relations Board against City Brewery. The allegations include changing contracts, withholding information, changing terms and conditions of employment and taking enforcement action.
Palmer said some employees remain at the plant, particularly those who operate the engine room, including boilers, compressors and ammonia systems.
“If something goes wrong in there, it’s a danger to the building and to everyone in it and to the immediate surroundings,” he said. “So we made sure to keep those operators in the plant, but they are union employees.”
A spokesperson for City Brewery said this month the company would continue to honor seniority and job offers under a new “last, best and final contract offer” offered by the ‘business.
“City Brewery has spent over six months working hard to reach an agreement with the IUE-CWA union for our Latrobe brewery,” the company spokesperson said. “Our most recent offer included significant salary increases for all covered employees – nearly 23% for new hires – upfront payments on signing, improved vacation accruals and competitive benefits.”
City Brewery recently signed a five-year lease for a warehouse and distribution site at the RIDC Westmoreland industrial complex in East Huntingdon. He said the move was part of an effort to “scale up our production operations to support additional customers.”
Ten union members work at the site, where the company plans to create 50 to 60 jobs.
Latrobe Brewing, which was founded in 1893 as part of the Pittsburgh Brewing Co., began producing its flagship Rolling Rock beer in 1939 after Prohibition ended.
City Brewing bought the Anheuser-Busch Co. property after it paid $82 million for the Rolling Rock brand in 2006 and moved its production to New Jersey.
City Brewing had closed in late 2008, when Boston Beer Co. moved production of Sam Adams beer from Latrobe to a plant in the Allentown area. Brewing at the facility resumed in 2009 with Iron City Beer and several other contract brewing arrangements. These include, or have included, Stoney’s and Stoney’s Light, Guinness Blonde American Lager and Red Stripe.
Pittsburgh Brewing Co. announced in February 2021 plans to produce its own brands — Iron City, IC Light, IC Light Mango, Old German Premium Lager, American and American Light and Block House Brewing Summer Break — in a former glass factory in Creighton, Eastern Deer. Work continues to begin production at this facility.