Teamster Local 792 on strike against J.J. Taylor Distributing

By staff |
April 18, 2018
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Minneapolis, MN - The Teamsters Local 792 strike against J.J. Taylor Distributing, a beer hauler based in Minneapolis, continued into its ninth day April 17, with about 40 workers picketing all entrances into the company. Workers from several other workplaces and local unions joined Teamsters from J.J. Taylor on the picket line.

Teamsters are engaged in a struggle for safe working conditions and to protect seniority-driven work positions. The company wants to force workers to perform alone the task of dead-lifting 175-pound kegs of beer. Under the current contract that job is performed by a team of two workers who are assigned by bid based upon seniority. According to the company, the need for efficiency trumps the safety of its workers.

Union officials said that the company had reached out with an offer yesterday that they deemed offensive. That offer was worse than what was on the table when workers voted to walk off the job. The union remains willing to return to the table once the company agrees to bargain in good faith.

The company is currently operating by using scab drivers and warehouse workers. The lack of skills and training of those scabs was on full display as two tractor-trailers ended up buried deep in the snow. The scabs just are not up to the task of driving on streets that are less than perfect due to a recent snowfall. Despite the assistance of a crew of scab security guards attempting to direct traffic, the inexperienced scab drivers caused backups several times on the main thoroughfare.

On several occasions, scab drivers almost ran over picketing workers. Security guards steadily escalated their level aggression towards picketers throughout the day. As the day progressed, those guards began to physically push picketers off the line to get trucks through. Despite this antagonism, picketing workers remained good humored and maintained the picket.

The strike is expected to continue with a rally scheduled April 18, from noon until 8 p.m. at the Radisson hotel in Roseville (2540 N Cleveland Avenue) where scabs are being housed.

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