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Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Workers Ratify a First Contract

April 10, 2024

On March 8, members of UFCW Local 7 who are employed as distillery workers at Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey in Denver unanimously ratified a first union contract that strengthens workplace protections and improves wages and benefits.

These workers, who process Stranahan’s Rocky Mountain Single Malt from grain to glass, joined our union family because they were concerned about unsafe working conditions and wanted better wages, benefits, and a voice in the workplace. Their first union contract addresses those issues.

The three-year contract includes a formal safety team that is comprised of workers and union officials, as well as a boot voucher and other safety enhancements. The safety team met before the contract was finalized and it was discovered that the workers were lacking in areas such as active shooter training. The company is now checking into active shooter training for all employees.

The employees had no structure for advancement or raises and now they have a matrix to know exactly what areas they need to improve upon in order to advance to higher pay brackets. With the new contract, some workers are receiving several dollar per hour raises. Other contract gains include guaranteed two days off in a row and the requirement that one of those days must be a weekend day. The members are now guaranteed an allotment of their hard work in the distillery.

These gains were not easy and the local held two support pickets in front of the facility to put pressure on the company to give the members a fair contract. One of these events was a two-day picket during the company’s biggest public relations event of the year that involves a rare “snowflake” bottle and draws over a thousand people trying to get a bottle. Customers went into the distillery to get their snowflake bottles wearing pins that told the company the workers deserve a fair contract.

“For years, management pushed us harder and faster to reach continuously higher production goals while our facility and systems deteriorated,” said Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Distiller Charles Koller. “Going union is our push to make our management provide so that we can do our jobs safely and fairly and earn a living wage. We’re excited to have new protections, as well as a clear path to earn fair and consistent raises.”

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