Wow, this is certainly an interesting development. BevMo, the company where I was the beer buyer for nearly five years in the late 1990s, is coming under fire by the United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Local 5, for their treatment of employees. They were never exactly great to their employees. Like almost every big or growing American company, they squeezed a lot out of their workers, expected long hours from salaried employees. Don’t get me wrong, I liked a lot of things about the job, and met a great many good people — though a fair number are no longer there — but it was demanding in a way that was beneficial to the company, but necessarily to the well-being of the people doing all the actual work. I know that’s a fairly common scenario, but it must have grown even worse, because for a Union to step in and go after BevMo the way they are suggests a level of poor treatment above and beyond the average company.
According to the BevMo Can Afford to Do Better website set up by UFCW-5, they launched a campaign last week against BevMo “[o]n the heels of the company’s August 1 announcement eliminating full time jobs across the chain and under [the subsequent] BevMo rules resulting in the loss of health benefits for the new part time employees, the workers are fighting back.”
BevMo Can Afford to Do Better
BevMo! currently operates 104 superstores, located in California & Arizona. In March 2007, TowerBrook formally announced its acquisition of BevMo! TowerBrook is a private equity firm with $2.5 billion under management. TowerBrook pursues control-oriented private equity investments in large and middle market companies and has committed to making BevMo even more successful. According to BevMo’s CEO, Alan Johnson, sales in 2000 were around $100 million and in 2009 reached well over $500 million. Since Towerbrook’s acquisition of the company, BevMo has opened 40 new stores with plans to open 100 more over the next few years. Clearly, BevMo CAN AFFORD TO DO BETTER.
A press conference was held earlier today at Embarcadero and Clay streets in Oakland to explain the campaign to the public. The demands of the workers were laid out, as follows:
- Restore Full Time Positions
- Restore Health Benefits
- Initiate a Wage Increase Immediately
- Restore the 401(K)
- Union Recognition by BevMo
They’ve also set up a Facebook page about the campaign. And they’ve released a video outlining it, as well.
Hmm, I wonder if they’ll start calling for a boycott?