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Heaven Hill employees go on strike

Members of UFCW Local 23D took to the picket lines Sept. 11 after failing to reach a contract...
Members of UFCW Local 23D took to the picket lines Sept. 11 after failing to reach a contract with Heaven Hill Distilleries.(Source: Michael Williams, WAVE 3 News)
Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 11:40 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2021 at 3:04 PM CDT
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BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WAVE) - Workers at Heaven Hill Distilleries are now walking the picket line after failing to approve a new contract with the company.

The members of UFCW 23-D began picketing at 11:59 p.m. Friday. Larry Newton, a union steward, said 96.1% of the members voted for the work stoppage.

According to a release from UFCW, the rejected contract “removes a cap on health insurance premium increases and would reduce take-home pay, cuts overtime, and drastically changes work schedules.”

Josh Hafer, a Heaven Hill Brands spokesman, said the contract voted down by the union was a five-year agreement.

Kentucky Rep. Charles Booker (D-Louisville) said he hopes Heaven Hill can soon come to an agreement with its workers, as the bourbon industry is so vital to the state.

“Heaven Hill distillery is already one of the lowest-paying distilleries in the area and with this contract that strips workers of vital protections, they’ve made it clear they don’t value their workers,” Booker said in a statement. “In some cases, workers have been forced to work seven days a week with no days off, week after week. It’s not right and no one should be asked to make these sacrifices with no consideration for their well-being.”

Hafer said Heaven Hill plans on continuing to work with UFCW 23-D to come to an agreement on the workforce package.

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