Coors has a rich history of fucking with unions and workers. Man, remember the polygraphs? Yes, Coors used to use lie detectors to screen employees. Here’s maybe the greatest quote ever (LA Times 1986):
“If people are on narcotics we’ll find it. We’ll also find communists,” said Richard Bond, Coors’ director of placement, in commenting on the new screening methods that will replace the polygraph.
Well, that was the ‘80s, and we all saw Red Dawn. Part of the motivation for lie detector tests was the fear that followed the 1960 kidnapping and murder of Adolph Coors III — crazy stuff you can read here — though that case did not involve company employees. Anyway, these types of practices (along with general labor, race and gender accusations of inequality) busted up unions and created big boycotts on the Coors brand throughout the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and (well, um) even today.
In 2005, Molson merged with U.S.-based Coors to form Molson Coors Brewing Co. A lot of stuff happened in between and after — like Molson Coors’ recent acquisition of SABMiller’s 58 percent stake in MillerCoors LLC, the joint venture formed in the United States and Puerto Rico by both companies in 2008. This makes Molson Coors (er) Miller the world’s third largest brewer by “enterprise value and strengthen position.”
But have their views on organized labor changed? Is Molson Coors different than just those old, lonely Coors? Some in the north would say no. The Canadian branch of the company is based in Toronto, and there’s a brewery on 33 Carlingview Drive in the city. At that brewery, 320 workers are currently striking. Why? Well, Molson Coors is looking to streamline costs at the brewery (wages, benefits, that sort of stuff). According to Toronto-based CityNews:
The union says it has offered up reductions in overtime pay and the hiring of more temporary workers. They’ve also offered to give the company 10 per cent [sic] co-pay for benefits.
Robert Folk, the president of the Canadian Union of Brewery and General Workers Local 325, which has represented the workers at the Carlingview facility for 55 years, accuses the company of bargaining in bad faith.
“They are trying to eliminate the middle class,” Folk tells CityNews.
Folk says this is the first labour dispute at the company since 1997. He says the decisions are coming from corporate offices in Colorado, where the mandate is to “lower wages.”
Yikes. With so much increased competition and so many brands now under its portfolio (Molson Coors produces 24 brands of beer), decision-makers will scrutinize operating costs harshly in 2017 and beyond. Apparently, the two sides have been negotiating since October. Well, at least they’re not using polygraphs, right?