The Oklahoman

Bourbon maker reaches tentative deal with striking workers


Heaven Hill, one of the world’s largest bourbon producers, announced a tentative contract deal Friday with a union representi­ng striking workers, just days after signaling it intended to start hiring permanent replacemen­t employees for bottling and warehouse operations in Kentucky.

About 420 members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 23D went on strike about six weeks ago, forming picket lines at Heaven Hill’s operations in Bardstown after rejecting a previous contract proposal. The workers will vote Saturday on the latest five-year contract offer.

The dispute revolved around health care and worker scheduling issues. Wrangling over scheduling was a sign of the bourbon industry’s growing pains as it tries to keep up with global demand.

“The agreement continues Heaven Hill’s long-standing commitment to its team members with industry-leading health care, wage growth and increased schedule flexibility,” Heaven Hill said in a statement Friday.

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