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Wednesday, June 12

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The Mechanics
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Labor & Worker Rights Mon Jul 12 2010

Trouble Brewing?

Back in June 2008, when Milwaukee's Miller Brewing Co. (an arm of London-based SABMiller) and Molson Coors Brewing Co. of Golden, CO, merged their US operations to become MillerCoors, Chicago was chosen as the location for the new company's headquarters. The newly formed venture was provided with $6 million in TIF funds to help cover the construction costs of approximately 150,000 sq ft of office space at 250 S. Wacker Dr. In turn, MillerCoors agreed to ensure that at least 325 jobs would be brought to the city within 5 years. When the company finally took possession of their new offices in late June of last year, Mayor Daley, 2nd Ward Alderman Robert Fioretti and MillerCoors CEO Leo Kiely feted the company's bright prospects in their adopted hometown.

A year removed from all those hokey jokes from Mr Kiely (check 2:20 in the vid) and co., it seems that trouble may be brewing between the corporate parent and about 400 workers from the Milwaukee brewing facility still in operation. The workers, represented by United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America Local 9, are beginning talks with MillerCoors as the current labor contract is set to expire on August 7th. Katie Drews, of Chicago Union News, notes in a recent article that "both sides have kept a tight lip about the process," but that current economic conditions and unaddressed budgetary issues from the merger could affect the outcome of talks.

While mainly all of the jobs brought to Chicago were white-collar positions, MillerCoors continues to operate its breweries all over the country. This is the first labor contract up for renewal since the merger of the two companies.

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