Beer distributor meets strike with permanent replacements


The Bond Distributing Co., distributors of several brands of beer, responded to a strike by packers, shippers and other workers yesterday by hiring permanent replacements and said strikers may never get their jobs back.

In response, Brewery Workers Local 1010 called for a boycott of the beers distributed by the Southwest Baltimore firm, including Coors, Molson, Miller and Rolling Rock. The Metropolitan Baltimore Council of AFL-CIO Unions and all area Teamsters locals pledged to support the boycott in support of the Teamsters affiliate.

Charles Stansburge, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Joint Council 62, said "the struggle of the employees of Bond Distributing Company is the struggle of all organized labor and its friends -- the right to strike in America must be defended and preserved."

Workers walked off their jobs at 11 p.m. Sunday to protest what they termed Bond's failure to bargain in good faith over several contract issues, including health care and pension benefits. Their contract expired June 30.

Norman Buchsbaum, labor attorney for Bond, said the union walked out while negotiators were making progress. "It came as a surprise," he said. "The company would have preferred it if the strike could have been avoided."

He said workers were told before they went out on strike that they risked losing their jobs to replacements. The company, he said, has continued to ship beer out of its warehouse in the 1200 block of Bernard Drive.

"I'm sure the strike has affected the company in some way, but it hasn't prevented us from continuing business," Mr. Buchsbaum said.

Both sides said there were no plans to resume negotiations.

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