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Stranahan's Distillery workers union pickets as fans camp out for limited-edition whiskey

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Posted at 9:45 PM, Dec 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-01 23:45:11-05

DENVER — While fans camp out behind Stranahan’s Distillery for a limited-edition batch of whiskey, union representatives for the distillery workers are on the front sidewalk fighting for their first union contract.

Jimena Peterson stood Friday on the picket line along S. Kalamth Street, waving her sign and chanting to the cars passing by. She is a part of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local Number 7, the union representing Stranahan’s Distillery distillers and bottlers who have been fighting for their contract for more than a year.

“It's a little disappointing to see the company is union-busting Colorado workers so drastically,” said Peterson.

Stranahan workers banded together with UFCW Local 7 in summer 2022. Jim Hammons with Local 7 said their goals were simple.

“They want to know what they're going to make and they want to know what their raises are going to be,” said Hammons.

In November 2022, workers voted in favor of union representation and won a labor peace vote soon after. Now, more than a year into bargaining, they haven't been able to reach a compromise despite reasonable worker demands, Peterson claims.

“Their proposals are not being listened to. The company is laughing at the workers' faces, so we're trying to have our voices heard right now,” said Peterson.

The protest is being held during Stranahan’s annual Whiskey Snowflake Festival — one of the distillery's biggest events. Fans eagerly wait for hours — even days — to get their hands on one of the limited-edition bottles, which are only available one day per year. The union said it's the perfect time to picket.

“They said, ‘That's fine. We don't care if you strike. We have thousands of barrels ready to go. So if you want to strike, go head. We don't care,’” said Hammons.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Stranahan’s Distillery said, “We value all our team members at Stranahan’s, including those with whom we are engaging in collective bargaining. We respect the right of our employees to unionize, have bargained with them for nearly a year, and hope to arrive at a resolution soon.”

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