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Workers go on strike at Fort Worth Molson Coors brewery

North Texas brewery workers off the job and on the picket lines
North Texas brewery workers off the job and on the picket lines 02:42

FORT WORTH - Production stopped at one of the country's largest breweries and its North Texas workers are on the picket lines.

More than 400 members of Teamsters Local 997 walked off the job at the Molson Coors facility in Fort Worth to protest on Saturday and Sunday. 

Workers go on strike at Fort Worth Molson Coors brewery CBSNewsTexas

The union workers say they are striking for better wages and benefits after months of unsuccessful negotiations with their employer over a new three-year contract. 

"We've taken care of this employer many years all through the pandemic we actually had a member that died he got COVID here and he unfortunately passed away," said Rick Miedema, the secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 997.  

Since November Teamsters Local 997 has been in negotiations with Molson Coors on a new contract. They want to see a pay raise for members, and the elimination of two-tiered health care and retirement benefits. But the union says Molson Coors' latest offer was insulting and included a less than $1 per hour wage increase for most union workers. 

"We made them a lot of money during the pandemic we made them even more money recently," said Miedema.    

Molson Coors reported six years of profit growth in 2023 alone. CBS News Texas reached out to Molson Coors for comment who told us they've built up their inventory with distributors to prevent any shortages for customers as a result of this strike. 

"While we respect the union's right to strike, we have strong contingency plans in place, and those plans are already well underway," Molson Coors' Chief Communications Officer, Adam Collins said. "We deliberately built up distributor inventories across the country in recent weeks, our five other U.S. breweries have extra capacity, and we are well-equipped to ensure that consumers will be able to buy their favorite Molson Coors products. At this point, the union has not responded to our last offer, which exceeds local market rates for similar unionized roles, but we remain committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to both our employees and to the Fort Worth Brewery."

"Unfortunately, it takes this to get an employer to negotiate, you have to shut them down you have to hit them in the pocketbook and then they'll come back to the table and bargain with you," said Miedema. 

Earlier this month the International Brotherhood of Teamsters announced it would provide striking members of Local 997 with $1,000 per week in strike benefits until their fight for a better contract is resolved. The union has also filed several unfair labor practice charges against Molson Coors for bad faith bargaining. 

"Enough's enough we're tired, we're tired of putting them on our back and we want a fair contract we want to get a deal done and we want to get back to work." 

Teamsters Local 997 members say they'll be back on the picket line Monday starting at 9 a.m.

The Fort Worth Brewery services the western region of the country with major Molson Coors products, everything from Coors Light to Topo Chico and Simply juices.  

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