Labour Leaders Call for Labatt Boycott

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Beer giant calls boycott ‘dangerous manoeuvre’

[Note from Popular Resistance: Anheuser-Busch is a sponsor of the Corporation for Presidential Debates.]

Labour leaders in Newfoundland and Labrador are calling for a boycott of all Labatt beer products as a strike at its St. John’s brewery drags on.

About 50 employees have been walking the picket line since April 10.

The workers say they’re fighting for a fair collective agreement, claiming Labatt is looking for big concessions.

At a news conference Friday afternoon, NAPE and the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour launched an ad campaign that calls on people to not buy Labatt products or anything linked to its parent company.

Labatt is owned by the world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev. The products on the boycott list range from Budweiser and Alexander Keith’s, to Becks and Stella Artois.

Labour federation president Lana Payne noted beer becomes even more popular during the summer months.

“So once again, our federation of labour, with the support of our executive council, respectfully asks that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians boycott Labatt products … and support our fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.”

Labatt corporate affairs spokesperson Wade Keller. Labatt corporate affairs spokesperson Wade Keller. (CBC)

Meanwhile, Labatt spokesperson Wade Keller questions whether the union has fully thought the idea through.

“If people stop buying our products, obviously we won’t need to make as much beer,” Keller said.

“And if we don’t need to make as much beer, we won’t need as many employees. We know that sometimes when consumers switch brands, they don’t necessarily switch back.”

The Labatt plant on Leslie Street, just west of downtown St. John’s, has continued to brew beer with replacement workers during the labour dispute.

The company recently erected a fence around the brewery entrance, saying striking workers crossed a dangerous line by displaying names and addresses of some replacement workers.

Workers waged a three-week strike at the same plant in 2005.