NewsCovering Kentucky


Four Roses Statement Disputes Strike Workers’ Claims

Posted at 4:25 PM, Sep 17, 2018

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (LEX 18) — Four Roses Distillery issued a statement Monday regarding striking workers who are disputing paid time off and sick time policies.

According to the union president, workers are trying to change the way union members earn their paid time off and sick leave, including the creation of a two-tier system.

Workers tell LEX 18 that they stuck with the bourbon industry a few years ago when the industry got lean and now they want the industry to stick with them now that its booming.

Four Roses Distillery now says that they have never proposed a two-tier wage plan. Here is a statement released by the company:

“While we have tried not to conduct negotiations publicly in the media, several media reports have contained
some inaccuracies that we would like to correct. We value our employees and recognize they are a crucial part
of what makes Four Roses a special Bourbon. We have been negotiating in good faith with the unions and
offered a competitive package for our employees.

“We have never proposed a two-tier wage plan. We had originally proposed that only current employees could
receive 6 weeks’ vacation after 25 years of service. Employees hired in the future would be limited to 5 weeks
vacation. We dropped that proposal in the last negotiating session. There is no two-tier proposal on vacations.

“For many years, employees have received sick days and long-term disability benefits, but they had no short-term disability, so they had to use sick days to ‘bridge’ them until long-term disability started. Current
employees receive 10 sick days per year and have been able to build up a ‘bank’ of up to 60 sick days.
In the negotiations, we proposed that current employees would, for the first time, receive short-term disability
benefits. We also proposed changes to the way the ‘bank’ could be used. We did so because in our opinion
the need for the ‘bank’ was reduced because they would have short-term disability benefits to ‘bridge’ them to
long-term disability.

“The bargaining committees for all unions told us they preferred to keep their ‘bank’ and did not want short-term
disability. At the last negotiating session, we agreed to let them keep their present plan unchanged.
However, we still feel short-term disability is a more modern, and better, method of dealing with extended
absences. We have proposed that employees hired in the future would receive 10 sick days per year but
cannot build up a ‘bank.’ They would receive short-term disability benefits, which current employees declined.

“A claim that we are proposing a ‘two-tier’ sick leave policy that discriminates against new hires is not true. We
agree that the new hires would not receive the same sick leave benefits as current employees, but we believe
the new hires’ program is better, not worse. Now, a current employee who has insufficient sick days in the
‘bank’ has nothing to rely on until long-term disability benefits start. New hires will never find themselves in that
situation. So, we gave current employees what they said they wanted, and new hires something different, but,
we think, better.

“Although the unions rejected our last offer, they did not inform us why they turned it down. At our last meeting,
the unions told as they were unwilling to change any of their positions, and then they went on strike. We have
heard nothing that leads us to believe they have changed their position.”