For more than 50 years, members of ILWU Local 6 have worked at a liquor bottling plant in Menlo Park that packages some of America’s best-known drinks, including Johnny Walker, Hennessy, Jose Cuervo, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan – plus Guinness and Red Stripe beer and wine labels Rosenblum Cellars, Blossom Hill, Sterling Vineyards, Chateau and Estates, & Moet Chandon. Diageo is the British-based corporation behind all these and other brands.
The company says they make most of their money selling liquor in the United States and reported profits last year of $2.5 billion. But this week, they announced their decision to close the Menlo Park bottling plant, which will destroy 150 jobs – 128 of whom are members of ILWU Local 6. Diageo has other union-represented facilities in the East and Midwest, but hasn’t confirmed exactly where West Coast production would occur if the Menlo Park plant is closed.
If Diageo decides to go ahead with the plant closure, there’s also a question about the large $54 million pension surplus that could go into company coffers – or be used to help alleviate the suffering of families who stand to lose thier jobs.
The workers want the company to reconsider the decision to close, and have decided to approach customers in the Bay Area to ask for support. They’re planning to visit retail outlets and public events and urge consumers to contact Diageo executive David Cutter at 203-229-7154, and tell him that the plant-closing decision should be reconsidered. Click here to download the flyer.
Channel 7 news (ABC-KGO) did a good report on the threatened closure this week, and interviewed ILWU Local 6 member Pam Clay, who broke down in tears during the interview as she explained the impact of a plant closure on her family. Watch the video here.
For more information about the possible plant closure and fight-back campaign, contact Fred Pecker at ILWU Local 6, 510-638-5605.