About 80 members of Teamsters Local 162 went on strike Nov. 17 at General Distributors, Inc. (GDI), of Oregon City —truck drivers, warehouse workers, and sales employees. GDI distributes Miller-Coors beers and dozens of craft beers, wines and ciders in 11 Oregon counties, from Salem to Hood River.
Local 162 says the profitable company is seeking $1.5 million a year in concessions, which works out to $19,000 per worker. A company statement denied those particulars, and said the strike came as a complete surprise. GDI appears to be seeking the same (lower) wages and benefits that its competitor Maletis pays under a separate contract with Local 162. GDI also said it’s hiring permanent replacements, and that almost 20 percent of the strikers have resigned from the union and returned to work.
The two sides haven’t met to bargain since Oct. 30, but a new bargaining session with a federal mediator was scheduled for Dec. 2, after this issue went to press. The old contract expired Nov. 1.
Local 162 says the strike will continue until a new agreement is reached — and approved by a vote of the members. Pickets continue 24 hours a day, seven days a week.