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Heaven Hill Workers Vote to End Six-Week-Long Kentucky Bourbon Strike, New Contract Preserves Healthcare and Overtime Pay

October 23, 2021 Updated: October 25, 2021

Union for 25,000 Kentucky Workers Statewide Calls Contract Important Step to Support Bardstown Bourbon Workers and Good Kentucky Jobs

BARDSTOWN, KY — Today, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) the union for over 25,000 Kentucky essential workersstatewide as well as 420 Heaven Hill distillery workers, just announced that Heaven Hill workers voted to end a six week strike after a tentative agreement was reached yesterday on a new five-year union contract

UFCW Local 23D, the union for these Heaven Hill workers, announced that the new contract achieved key priorities such as preserving affordable healthcare, increasing pay, maintaining overtime provisions, and strengthening retirement security.  

UFCW Local 23D President Matt Aubrey Released the Following Statement

“This new Heaven Hill contract is a strong reminder of what is possible when Kentucky workers stand together to protect the good jobs that keep our economy growing and our communities and families strong.

“With the strong support of the Bardstown community, including many local businesses and community leaders, these hardworking men and women at Heaven Hill courageously stood up to fight for what all Kentucky families want – good jobs, affordable health care, and to be treated right by the company they made a success.”

“Together, these hardworking Kentuckians preserved the affordable healthcare, overtime pay, and fair scheduling that enables them to balance work with supporting their families.”

BACKGROUND

UFCW has been the leading voice for Kentucky essential workers in distilleries, grocery stores, meatpacking plants, and so many other frontline businesses that have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Key Provision of Today’s New Heaven Hill Union Contract:

  • Healthcare affordability protected by maintaining industry-leading health benefits and increasing employer contribution by 4.25 percent
  • Pay increase of up to $3.09 per hour over the life of the contract
  • Overtime pay protected by maintaining previous number of minimum hours required
  • Fair scheduling maintained with traditional 40-hour work week on Mondays through Fridays to ensure employees are not forced to work on weekends
  • Vacation benefits and paid holidays increased to help workers spend more time with family
  • Retirement savings strengthened by increasing 401(k) match by the company from 7 percent to 8 percent

UFCW Local 23D has been in negotiations withthe $500 million company for over 6 months to reach an agreement for these Kentucky workers. In July 2021, the union called for a federal mediator to join the process to help to advance talks with the company. On September 9, Heaven Hill workers voted on the company’s latest proposal and 96 percent of workers rejected the contract proposal and the strike began onSeptember 11 at midnight. Heaven Hill workers were on strike for six weeks in the push to achieve a strong new union contract.

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UFCW is the largest private sector union in Kentucky, represents over 25,000 Kentucky workers statewide, and is part of UFCW International which represents 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries that serve communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org