Whiskey worker strike at 2 Jim Beam distilleries in Kentucky

Jim Beam is one of best selling brands of bourbon in the world produced by Beam Inc. in Clermont Kentucky. (Image: BigStock)
Jim Beam is one of best selling brands of bourbon in the world produced by Beam Inc. in Clermont Kentucky. (Image: BigStock)

CLERMONT, Ky. (AP) — Instead of producing whiskey, union members are manning picket lines at two Jim Beam distilleries in Kentucky where workers have gone on strike against the world’s largest bourbon producer.

More than 200 workers walked off their jobs after rejecting the latest contract offer Friday. On Saturday, passing motorists honked in support of workers holding picket signs outside Beam’s plant in Clermont.

Bill Ball, a 47-year Beam employee, hopes the dispute is settled quickly, but says striking workers are prepared to stay off their jobs “for the long haul” if necessary. Strikers say staffing shortages force them to work long hours of overtime to keep up with demand for Beam whiskey.

The company said Friday contingency plans will keep operations running to maintain the flow of whiskey to distributors and consumers.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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