Employees at San Francisco's oldest brewery, and what many consider to be the oldest craft beer brand in the country, just voted to approve a three-year contract with parent company Sapporo Holdings. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 6, negotiated the contract with the brewery, marking the first time in its 123-year history that its employees have been unionized.
As the SF Business Times reports, sixty-two employees voted to approve the contract, which officers 8 percent raises over three years, higher 401k contributions 85 percent healthcare coverage, and paid time off for part-time employees. The contract applies to both brewery workers and those who work in the adjacent brewpub, Anchor Corner Taps. Workers will now be getting paid around $21 per hour.
In a statement to the Business Times, Anchor brewmaster Scott Ungermann said, "We look forward to a strong future together with the newly formed union. Anchor has a storied history and enduring commitment to making great beers and valuing the people who brew them."
The union effort dates back to early this year, and it marks a possible sea change for mid-size craft breweries across the country. Large multinational brewery options like Anheuser-Busch and Miller Coors have dealt with unions for decades, but the same has not been true of the world of craft beer.
In a letter to Sapporo Holdings from the union organizing committee in February, the workers said, "Anchor is a San Francisco tradition,” the letter stated. “It used to be one of its best places to work — and it can be again. Anchor workers should be paid enough to live in San Francisco. We’re struggling to survive and raise our families.”