At last, coinscientious beer drinkers of Minneapolis-St. Paul can stop boycotting the dozen-plus beers being delivered by scab drivers for J.J. Taylor Distributing.
Others may continue drinking those beers, which included Summit and Grain Belt Premium, but may now do so without guilt. Well, without any additional guilt, aside from the normal amount.
On Thursday evening, the Teamsters Local 792 union announced on Twitter they'd be meeting with representatives of J.J. Taylor, the biggest beer distributor in the state, to discuss terms of a "new offer" from management.
Some 95 union drivers had been on strike for six weeks. During that time, J.J. Taylor continued delivering beers like Guiness, Miller Lite, and Leinenkugel's to bars and liquor stores, bringing in drivers hired through the "crisis response" firm Huffmaster.
Some labor-friendly bars, like Grumpy's Northeast, stopped serving J.J. Taylor beers in solidarity, and the Teamsters asked supporters to temporarily give up more than a dozen brews to make the strike a burdensome one for the company.
The root of the dispute depended which side was doing the explaining. The Teamsters said ownership wanted to convert some two-man routes to solo operations, which could leave a single delivery driver responsible for transporting dozens of 175-pound beer kegs into businesses -- and, in many instances, down the stairs.
This, union leaders said, was unsafe. J.J. Taylor said the Teamsters really went on strike to protect "seniority and work rules, rather than safety."
Which side agrred to move on its terms? And to what? The Teamsters didn't say, though their tweets from Thursday night make the contract sound like a victory for union members.
On behalf of our entire membership we’d like to thank you ALL for your support during our strike at @JJTaylorMN. All along it was about our right to a safe work environment and that is exactly what we won! We couldn’t had done it without you! THANK YOU SO MUCH! pic.twitter.com/qJDUo778tu— Teamsters Local 792 (@Teamsters792) May 25, 2018
Contract was overwhelmingly ratified. Our strike has officially ended and you are all welcome to purchase any products you’d like! They say it takes a village... THANK YOU all for being part of our village! #Solidarity #NoMoreRatScabBeer #NoMoreBoycott— Teamsters Local 792 (@Teamsters792) May 25, 2018
Again, we’d like to announce the end of our strike with @JJTaylorMN. We couldn’t had done it without all of our support from both businesses and the general public that understood and recognized an employer that was crossing the line on safety! Again, THANK YOU! @Teamstersjc32— Teamsters Local 792 (@Teamsters792) May 25, 2018
Ask us, and the real winners here are people who got to feel like they were doing the right thing because they switched to a different beer than their favorite. For one month of their lives. Congratulations, everyone. It's going to be 1,000 degrees for every second of this weekend. Stock up on ice for those coolers.