The union representing delivery drivers for Minnesota’s largest beer distributor announced late Thursday on Twitter that a seven-week-long strike against J.J. Taylor Minnesota has ended with ratification of an agreement reached this week.
“Our strike has officially ended and you are all welcome to purchase any products you’d like!” Teamsters 792 tweeted at its supporters. It did not disclose vote totals or the terms of the agreement, saying only that it made gains in its quest for “a safe work environment.”
Ninety-five drivers went on strike in April over proposed changes in work conditions that they said would compromise safety. At the time, J.J. Taylor, said it was blindsided by the union’s safety concerns, which it said came up after agreement on a new three-year contract had been reached.
The strike did not entirely disrupt distribution to stores and restaurants in the Twin Cities because J.J. Taylor hired Huffmaster, a crisis response business, to staff its routes and provide security during the strike. But some of the company’s customers refused deliveries by nonunion drivers.
J.J. Taylor has said it offered the drivers a 10 percent raise this year, followed by more modest raises the following two years if the union agreed to a new, more elastic, delivery-route structure.
But the union did not want to change the way the delivery routes operate without a guarantee that they could have a second person — called “helpers” — on any truck delivering kegs, which can weigh as much as 170 pounds.