OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) — UFCW 227 has filed three unfair labor practice grievances against Sazerac Distillers, which owns Glenmore Distillery in Owensboro. The union and the company are in the middle of contract negotiations.
The union says Sazerac violated the National Labor Relations Act by engaging in bad faith bargaining and by bringing in replacement workers.
Local 227 spokesperson Caitlin Blair says the law requires good faith bargaining, which she says means listening to the other side and being open to compromise. She accuses the company of having a “take it or leave it” mentality, and she says the company is busing in temporary workers from all over the country. She says bringing in workers from outside the Commonwealth violates the Governor’s orders about people coming in from out of state.
Glenmore officials see things different. They say the company has made concessions during bargaining sessions, but they says the company has made its. “last, best, and final,” offer to workers. The company admits it has brought in workers from Southern Indiana, but it says that does not violate the Governor’s orders because the Governor’s orders allow people to cross state lines to go to work.
The company released the following statement:
The Company has at all times bargained in good faith and has made many concessions on its own proposals as well as agreeing to many proposals made by the union. We do believe we have given our “last, best, and final” offer, which was presented on April 7, 2020. This proposal contains many provisions on which both parties reached agreement, maintains the excellent benefit package enjoyed by our employees, and improves the wages for all our employees.
We are bringing in temporary employees from Southern Indiana to complement our existing workforce. As you no doubt know, Governor Beshear’s executive order states employees are permitted to travel into Kentucky when required by employment. The Glenmore Distillery has been deemed an essential business for sprits, as well as for the production of hand sanitizer, which we are producing for some of the world’s largest companies. All employees, including temporary employees, are given temperature scans before entering The Glenmore Distillery and are subject to the same social distancing requirements applicable to our employees.
The contract between Local 227 and Sazerac expired April 14. Workers turned down a company offer at that time, but they continue to work without a contract. One of the main sticking points seems to be the company’s proposal to bring in new workers at a lower wage than existing employees.
You can read each complaint below.
Eyewitness News will continue to follow this story.
(This story was originally published on April 16, 2020)