Schumer acts to preserve Anheuser-Busch worker benefits

Since 1852, Anheuser-Busch has sustained a first-rate workforce dedicated to brewing, manufacturing and distributing a product of the highest caliber. The Anheuser-Busch breweries serve as central hubs of economic development where large and small communities rely on the jobs and continuing economic growth upheld by these facilities.

Anheuser-Busch currently employs nearly 31,000 people in 12 breweries in New York, Missouri, New Jersey, California, Texas, Ohio,Florida, New Hampshire, Virginia, Colorado, Georgia and additional plants and facilities throughout the country. In 2007, the Anheuser-Busch breweries operated at nearly 95 percent of manufacturing capacity. For production to remain at this level, Anheuser-Busch needs to maintain its high-quality workforce and provide them with health and retirement benefits. Any facility closures, job losses or benefit cuts would deal a crushing blow to communities coping with the current uncertainty in the global and domestic economies.

Sen. Schumer spearheaded an effort to send a joint letter from several U.S. Senators to InBev, urging them to both maintain operations and safeguard the health and retirement benefits for the employees at the 12 Anheuser-Busch breweries across the nation including the Baldwinsville facility in Central New York.

U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill, Robert Menendez, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sherrod Brown, Jim Webb, Bill Nelson and Frank Lautenberg joined Sen. Schumer in sending the letter Monday Aug. 4. The Senators urged Inbev to use the current contract Anheuser-Busch maintains with its union employees as a model in its future plans. The current contract safeguards employees from unaffordable premium hikes. The Senators note that maintaining a strong healthcare and employee benefit program for each and every employee must be a top priority for InBev if it wants to continue to function at an optimal level.

"Anheuser-Busch has a strong relationship with its employees, built upon the principles of fairness, hard-work, and honesty," they wrote. "As InBev prepares to take over operations of Anheuser-Busch facilities across the United States, we urge you to carry on this tradition of cooperation and transparency."

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