The workers at the ABINBEV Metal Container Corporation have chosen IBEW Local 363 to represent them in collective bargaining in an election that was held on Friday August 27 and Saturday August 28 by the National Labor Relations Board.
These workers manufacture the cans for Budweiser Beer and other beverage companies affiliated with the company which is now called ABINBEV after the sale of the Anheuser Busch Company to INBEV - a Belgium owned company.
This campaign started approximately 6 months ago and there was a tremendous amount of work put into this effort by countless workers at the plant and by IBEW Local
A group of workers came to IBEW Local 363 in early February and spoke about how much they were losing with the new foriegn owned company. Soon after and through much effort, Local 363 began to increase the number of employees involved and held numerous small meetings with the workers on each shift.
Through their own efforts, the workers themselves brought more than double the amount of authorization cards required by law to file for the election to the union.
At that time, Senior Assistant Business Manager Sam Fratto became involved and suggested that they try a new way to organize the workers throughout the process – by using the electronic media and creating a blog that all of the workers could have access to 24 hours a day. The theory was that the blog would equalize the captive audience meetings and the fact that physical access to the workers was limited. It worked great and is still being used today in this next part of the election / negotiation process. The blog address is www.canplant.blogspot.com.
On Saturday night, August 28 the majority of workers chose to have IBEW Local 363 as their collective bargaining agent.
There was much pressure applied by the company and many veiled threats were levied at the people. This is a solid group of workers who are very proud to become members of the IBEW and especially of Local 363 and they held strong. After the election there were workers who voted no calling the union everyday stating that they would be supporting the union and that they were sorry they voted no because of immense pressure from the company.
They understand the power associated with having a written contract to work under. With the sale of AB, the workers knew they had to take steps of their own to protect themselves and they contacted Local 363 to make that happen. They picked the right union to do that!
There are now 164 NEW IBEW 363 union members in the Hudson Valley because of their courage and effort to band together to join the union and to speak with one voice.
Hopefully, more workers in the Hudson Valley will see that there is a choice available when it seems that everything is being taken from them - call in the IBEW or any other union in the area. Organize.
Now the ABINBEV workers have a voice at the table with the multi-billion dollar company from Belgium that owns the former AB Budweiser Brand.