Four Roses strike ends, union says both sides should claim victory
LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (WDRB) -- After a labor strike nearly dragged into its third week, Four Roses has reached a tentative agreement with employees of all three of its unions.
"At this point, we have a tentative agreement," said Four Roses distiller and UFCW Local 10D President, Jeff Royalty.
That means, in just days, Royalty and others will go back to work handcrafting Four Roses Bourbon in Lawrenceburg before aging and bottling it in Coxs Creek.
"We're one big, happy, dysfunctional family around here," Royalty said. "You know, just like brothers and sisters, you'll have some hard feelings from time to time, but they're short-lived.'
The hard feelings in this case led to a strike. Royalty and some of his coworkers put their collective foot down when the company planned to give new employees a different system for benefits like sick days and disability. Four Roses thought the new plan was better. The union thought otherwise.
After much discussion, he said the company will now offer two options to new hires: the traditional benefits plan and the newer one.
"One family may benefit greatly by keeping it the way it is, and then a younger family may benefit more by going to the new system," Royalty said. "Four Roses stepped up here, as we knew they would, and helped us work this out."
However, when work resumes Monday, which side should claim victory?
"The union. We're going to claim victory," Royalty said. "But I want to let people know, the company shouldn't claim anything but victory also. We're proud of what we do. We're proud of who we work for. We've got big hopes for Four Roses in the future."
Four Roses was purchased by Japanese beer maker Kirin Brewery Company, Ltd. in the early 2000s.
"Four Roses Distillery and its unions returned to the negotiating table today, and positive progress was made," a company spokesperson wrote in a statement. "Both sides reached a tentative agreement with unanimous union board endorsement and the strike has ceased at both facilities. Four Roses looks forward to beginning full production again soon."
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