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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Yuengling boycott? What?

My Google Alert on Yuengling has suddenly started spitting out pieces about Yuengling "illegally" busting the Teamsters out of their plant, and a bunch of folks saying "Man, I gotta stop drinking Yuengling!" Huh?

So I read the stuff, mostly coming out of a Mike Elk post on Huffington, and wow, that Dick Yuengling, he's huffing and puffing and blowing the union down! Elk claims Dick "said that if they didn't vote to kick the union out, he would close the plant, and ship the work to a non-union facility in the South." Which sounds like total bullshit to me right there: if he closes the Pottsville plant, they're no longer America's Oldest Brewery, and the facility they have in the "South" is the old Stroh brewery in Tampa, which is where Yuengling got unionized in the first place. There is no "ship it south" option for Yuengling; which is when I got my first inkling that Elk might be rabble-rousing.

I'm getting a lot more skeptical these days, so I looked deeper into this. The first thing I see is that according the AP story on the issue, the National Labor Relations Board "could find no evidence that management pressured employees to leave Philadelphia-based Local 830 of the Teamsters." The NLRB ruled for the brewery. So where's Elk get his "Yuengling had illegally busted their union" line? If the NLRB rules for the brewery, and the last appeal by the union is denied -- which it was -- then it's not illegal. And it's not like the workers are being oppressed. Yuengling pays 100% of their employees' health care, and brewery workers make $20 an hour. Not so bad.

Then I took another look at the story: it's from May of 2007. What da hell? This is a two year old story! Why is it suddenly coming up now?

Keep looking in Elk's piece...and you find that what Elk is really doing is trying to put pressure on Arlen Specter to vote for the Employee Free Choice Act. Boycotting Yuengling, the all-too-obvious hope is, will cause Dick Yuengling to cry uncle to Arlen. Wow. To paraphrase Bugs Bunny, if this guy thinks he's going to get Dick Yuengling to cry uncle, he don't know him very well, do he?

Look, I'm not a big fan of the EFCA because of the no-secret-ballot provision. I am not anti-union -- used to be, but no longer -- but I think the EFCA, as written, needs work. What I'm really not a fan of is using, manipulating union workers for political reasons. And suddenly stirring the shit two years after the fact (particularly when the "fact" ain't even in your favor) for political gain all too clearly shows that you never gave a rat's ass about the union workers in the first place.

This is stupidly transparent. Think for yourself -- don't just blindly follow what I'm saying, go look at this stuff yourself -- but my advice? Keep drinking Lager if you feel like it.

No, no comments on this one. Just because.

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