Labatt says it’s not demanding benefit reductions from union

Daniel MacEachern
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Labatt Breweries


A Labatt Breweries official says, contrary to a statement made by the union representing striking St. John’s workers, the company has not demanded a 20 per cent cut in benefits.

Carol Furlong, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees, which represents about 50 workers on strike from Labatt, issued a statement Thursday that said the company wants, among other concessions, a 20 per cent cut in medical and dental benefits, no medical benefits for retirees from now on, and a removal of the no-contracting out clause.

But Labatt spokesman Wade Keller said the company hasn’t demanded a 20 per cent reduction in benefits.


Current retirees not affected by proposed changes

“The union’s assertion that the company wants to cut pension and benefits by 20 per cent is simply not true,” Keller said Friday. The company has asked, he said, for union members to contribute 20 per cent of the premium for pension and benefits, something the company has paid 100 per cent of in the past.

“The company, in this round, is asking that the employees start contributing to that premium. And that’s no different than what our salaried employees do. I do that. Our salaried employees in Newfoundland do that. Other unionized employees in other parts of the country do that. We all wish these were the good old days, when companies funded pensions 100 per cent, but those days are gone. There are very few companies that fund pensions 100 per cent, and we’re asking the employees to make a contribution.”

Asked about the other concessions mentioned in the union’s news release, Keller said he’s not on the negotiating team.

“But I do know that any current retirees are not affected by anything,” he said. “I don’t want to get into every single specific, and next week they send out another news release with a bunch of assertions and then we come back and it ends up this big negotiating ploy in the media. I don’t want to go through every single one. And quite honestly, I don’t know the exact details of our entire proposal, because I’m not on the negotiating team. I would point out Carol Furlong’s not either.”

There have been no negotiations since mid-March. Labatt workers walked off the job illegally, following a request from Labatt for them to train workers — Keller said one union worker was asked to train “two or three” replacements — who would work at a plant in the event of a strike. As of this week, though, after a formal, unanimous strike vote by workers, the strike is legal. There are about 30 people now running the brewery, said Keller, most of whom are salaried workers. About 10 of them are from outside the province, he said, half of them Labatt employees and the other half contract workers. He said production hasn’t taken a hit yet.

“It’s different, for sure, but I talk to the plant manager every day, and he assures us that everything is going very well,” he said.

Twitter: @TelegramDaniel

Organizations: Labatt

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • Question
    April 18, 2013 - 12:56

    Would any of the Labatt employees on this website care to volunteer there current salary and job description? From my knowledge, they are already making a more than fair hourly wage for a job that requires little education and has little stress. If the average pay is only between $10-$15/hr and you have to pay benefits, maybe (not likely) but maybe you would have some public support. If Labatt chooses to share what your current hourly wages range from, all the support you currently have will quickly disappear and there will be a line up outside the picket line for your jobs.

  • Townie
    April 15, 2013 - 10:53

    People, this company, Labatt Canada, made over $900 million net profit last year alone, share the wealth!! Stop trying to make a billion $$$'s in profits on the employee backs.Corporate greed at its best!!!!!! For you union haters out there, this country was formed on hard work & they deserve a good salary & benefit package!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keller saids, there are scabs in the building, no more labatt product for me!!!!!!!!!

    • Cavell
      April 15, 2013 - 17:17

      If I am reading this story correctly, "the good old days" are still here with the profit that Labatt is making. Send the SCABS HOME & settle this before you lose more of the market to MOLSON

  • Labatt Ontario worker
    April 15, 2013 - 08:13

    What some people just don't seem to understand is it doesn't end here, this company won't be satisfied until the workers are at minimum wage. Corporate greed, and it's ugly! So to all you union haters out there who have been brainwashed by huge multinationals, the media, and your government. Who pays for your health care, welfare, and all the other social programs when there is no one left paying 40% of their income in taxes? Hang in there boys!!!

  • steve
    April 14, 2013 - 10:52

    Another example of corporate greed at its finest.

  • roy
    April 13, 2013 - 10:37

    Boy I feel like breaking down and crying, just imagine having to pay into a pension plan. The gaul off this company. Why don't we all put a little cash on the counter for their pensions when we buy beer.

    • Townie
      April 15, 2013 - 10:41

      Ask Mr. Keller what is the turnover in the brewery is for salaried employees, they can't keep them!!!!! Replacement managers that have no people skills, can’t communicate & only dictate, they learn from the top. Yes, they also have taken cuts but they can't do nothing about it, take them or quit, not like a NAPE member. This company(Labatt St. John's) made $18 million net profit last year. The members of NAPE did the work while the managers focus on how to screw the employees out of their benefits. John Labatt, Founder, must be rolling around in his grave when he sees his former employees being treated like they are in a third world country.

  • Ex-pat Newfie
    April 13, 2013 - 09:10

    NL needs to become more business friendly or businesses are going to just leave the province and ship goods in from the mainland. Companies have to make money, that is why they invest in the first place. It is not so people can have great salaries and benefits. Most employers probably don't care that much and are much more concerned about the bottom line. Insurance cost are raising everywhere so it is no surprise that they can no longer keep paying 100% of these benefits.

    • Brad
      April 13, 2013 - 12:09

      Labatt's parent company made $12 billion last year and executive compensation is out of control. These guys aren't hurting for money..

    • blocker
      April 15, 2013 - 10:09

      To say that they do not currently pay for their pension and benefits is not entirely true, for in past contracts wages were diverted to these programs, therefore they do not show up on pay stubs, so what the company is actually asking is the employees pay twice for the same benefits. However, the company still want the people of nfld. to support their products and massive profits, while pulling more and more out of the nfld economy every year.

    • Townie
      April 15, 2013 - 10:56

      You lefted NF because you couldn't fine a job or because the salaries were to low. People like you turn my stomach, stay away & don't come back left us fight the battle for ya!!!!