On the Picket Line

Teamsters on first strike ever at Molson Coors in Fort Worth

By Josefina Otero
March 11, 2024

FORT WORTH, Texas — Over 100 spirited Teamsters Local 997 strikers lined the pavement in front of the Molson Coors plant here, which the bosses recently fenced off. The workers went on strike Feb. 17 after failing to reach a new contract with the company. This is the first strike for some 420 members of the union.

Molson Coors has a brewery, packaging line and warehouse here, as well as a power plant. The plant is the company’s only brewery for the entire Western region.

The plant is known in Fort Worth as the Miller Brewing Company, Rich Miedema, secretary-treasurer of Local 997, told the Militant. Molson Coors makes Miller beer, as well as its own line of beers, Yuengling, Pabst, Topo Chico hard seltzer and Simply Juices.

“The strike is over economics, dignity and respect,” he said. “We want pay raises and the elimination of two-tier health care and retirement benefits. Some 80% of the membership has the lower tier of health care, vacation, and retirement,” Miedema said. “The company wants us to leave the Teamsters health care plan and go to a substandard plan of their choosing. They’re offering a $1 per hour wage increase a year over a three-year contract. That does not even keep up with inflation.”

The Dallas Morning News reported Molson Coors raked in $103 million in the fourth quarter and $1.3 billion for last year. In October the company announced a $2 billion stock buyback for the shareholders.

Courtney Hartley and two other members of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants union were on the picket line in solidarity. Over 500 American Airlines APFA workers picketed at the airlines terminal here Feb. 13 demanding higher wages, and that the company cover all the hours they work, as well as more humane schedules and safer work conditions. Strikers said this is the second time flight attendants have been to the picket line.

Hartley explained that there are 13 separate wage tiers at American, and flight attendants in tier 13 haven’t had a wage increase since 2018.

“Solidarity is important. We’re all part of the whole labor movement, not just airline or brewery workers as individuals,” she said. “It’s important for all of us to support each other. Corporate greed is ruining the lives of working people.”