I remember a day back in college, on a road trip to Virginia with some friends. We were staying in a cheap motel, and of course, drinking cheap beer.
Being one not to judge with cheap beer, I expected to be drinking that watered down beer I was so used to the entire trip. That was, until someone walked in with a case of Yuengling.
I had no idea what this weirdly named beer was, but was pleasantly surprised by it, a cheap-beer that was actually pretty good.
For years, I flocked to it. Every trip in the mid-Atlantic involved drinking it pretty constantly and driving back a case or two home.
Living in DC now, Yuengling, the “oldest brewer in America” sounds like a pretty solid bet and because of that is a featured pour at most bars in town.
But no more.
I don’t care that Yuengling is cheap. I don’t care that it’s a decent beer. What I do care about is how a company that makes a product I purchase treats its workers.
A big company like Yuengling can and should respect and treat their employees decently. Heck, the owner, Dick Yuengling was recently featured on a list of billionaires in America. yeah, that’s billion with a ‘b.’
But Yuengling doesn’t respect their workers. They, like too many companies, are focused on one thing and one thing only, their bottom line. It’s not like they’re hurting, or they’re losing money. No, they just want to make more.
Making money off of hard work is one thing. But making it at the expense of others is not.
In 2009, Mr. Yuengling approached his employees and had a
proposition threat for them: decertify the union representing Yuengling employees, or the business would be shut down.
Let’s not even get into the legality of this position, but leave it at the audacity this guy has to tell his employees that they don’t deserve to unite together and ask for raises, for benefits and to protect their well-being. No, Mr. Yuengling is focused on making more money and seemingly doesn’t care about his employees livelihoods.
But there’s more. Apparently busting his own union wasn’t enough, now he wants to do it to the rest of the unions in Pennsylvania.
On August 26th of this year, Yuengling was at an event where he talked about supporting so-called “right to work (for less)” laws in the state, that limit collective bargaining rights for workers, as well as complaining about the amount of taxes he pays.
I have news for you, Mr. Yuengling, those very taxes that you complain about paying are needed because of business owners like yourself. Unions like the one that represented your employees help workers to be an active part of the middle class. But without them, employees voices on the job are limited and asking for raises, increased benefits, etc. are near impossible. So as a result, workers will earn less and have fewer benefits, causing more of them to rely on tax-funded government programs.
So about that beer that I used to be fairly fond of: I’m done and I’m not the only one. Any employer that doesn’t respect his or her employees doesn’t deserve my business.
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to send a message to Yuengling and let them know how you feel.
There are plenty of other great beer option out there made by unionized workers as well as companies that respect their employees. Consider drinking those, instead of supporting a billionaire who doesn’t care about working families.