Moosehead Locks Out Workers In Benefits Dispute

ST. JOHN, NBCBC News is reporting that Moosehead Breweries has locked out 172 unionized workers at its Saint John plant after contract negotiations broke down over the weekend.

According to the original report posted yesterday, the workers have been without a contract since December 31st, and the union and management were not that far apart on most issues, but retirement benefits became a sticking point. Both sides are claiming that the other caused negotiations to be halted, but it’s clear that the work stoppage is due to a lockout on the part of Moosehead, and is not a strike action.

A follow-up report today gives more details on the dispute, indicating that drug benefits are the main issue:

The beer company now pays 100 per cent of drug costs for its retired workers. […] Joel Levesque, a Moosehead spokesman, said the company is seeking to move to a plan where retirees over 65 would pick up 30 per cent of the costs associated with their post-retirement benefit.

There is currently no beer being produced at the Saint John facility, but previously brewed and packaged inventory is being distributed without interruption for the time being.

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