On Saturday, February 13 2016, the membership at Brown Forman overwhelmingly ratified a new five-year agreement by a count of 114 yes to 27 no.
Two prior agreements offered by the company were strongly rejected by the members, who felt the company was holding back on them. After the second rejection, Teamsters Local 89 President Fred Zuckerman filed labor charges against Brown Forman for bargaining in bad faith. This, coupled with the two resounding rejections, caused the company to return to the table with a more serious offer that the membership approved of.
Included in the newly ratified contract are impressive wage increases of 11% over the five years, an improved vacation schedule, improvements in bereavement leave, and improvements to short and long term disability benefits. A major point of contention, tiered wages, was also largely addressed by adding the ability for all current “Wage B” employees to move to “Wage A” before the contract expiration.
Also added to the contract was a $1,500.00 dollar signing bonus for all employees, plus an early retirement bonus of $15,000.00 dollars for employees who meet certain eligibility requirements.
Local 89 Business Agent and Negotiation Chair, Rick Curtis, would like to thank Chief Steward Jeff Halsel, and Stewards Paul Povesis, Diane Patton, Benny Taylor, Kenny House, Mike Brown, Russ Cox, and Kelcey Marion for their valuable assistance throughout negotiations.