, ,

Leinenkugel’s Brewery workers strike in Chippewa Falls

Workers say wage increases offered by brewer and parent company Molson Coors don't keep pace with inflation

Around 40 Leinenkugel’s Brewery workers in Chippewa Falls have been on strike since July 10 in protest of wage increases they say don’t keep pace with inflation. Rich Kremer/WPR

Leinenkugel’s Brewery workers in Chippewa Falls have gone on strike for the first time since the 1980s. The Teamsters Union, representing the employees, says wage increases offered by the beer maker and parent company Molson Coors aren’t equitable and don’t keep pace with inflation.

Picketers held signs saying “On Strike” and “End Corporate Greed” outside a temporary fence erected along the edge of the Leinenkugel’s property. Some passing motorists honked or shouted their support as they passed the 156-year-old brewery.

A statement by Teamsters Local 662, which represents about 40 workers at the plant, says “meager wage increases” offered by Leinenkugel’s and parent company Molson Coors were rejected by the union July 10. Members voted 98 percent in favor of going on strike.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Dan Boley is a business agent for the Teamsters union. He said the company’s offer doesn’t keep up with inflation or similar jobs at other companies. Boley said members love working at the brewery, “but it’s time to make a stand.”

“The contract that was offered by the employer didn’t come close to meeting the needs of the men and women that work at the brewery there,” Boley said.

A statement from Molson Coors Chief Communications and Corporate Affairs officer Adam Collins said the strike isn’t expected to impact beer supplies.

“We’ve made a competitive offer that exceeds local-market rates for similar unionized roles, and despite the circumstances, we’re hopeful for a resolution that benefits everyone,” Collins said.

Leinenkugel’s maintenance technician and union steward Dan Jackson has worked at the Chippewa Falls brewery for 16 years. He said community members have been very supportive of the striking employees, with some dropping off donuts and water.

Burly’s Bar, located about a mile from the brewery, announced on Facebook it has stopped serving Leinenkugel products in solidarity with the striking workers.

Molson Coors announced in February its net sales grew to $10.7 billion last year, up from $10.27 billion in 2021.