Striking Heaven Hill employees ratify new five-year contract in Saturday vote


Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021 — Word spread quickly around Bardstown Saturday afternoon following the vote to ratify a new contract between Heaven Hill Distillery employees and its union.

More than 400 workers, represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 23D, have been on strike for six weeks. The vote on Saturday came after Heaven Hill announced Monday they intended to hire replacements for the striking employees after contract talks stalled.

But the union said earlier in the week it was willing to continue negotiations, and talks resumed Thursday, resulting in a tentative agreement announced on Friday.

Details of the five-year contract haven’t been released, but the main issues in negotiations revolved around health care and work schedules.

According to employee family members who spoke to the Gazette Saturday, the company had wanted workers to work a seven day week and then 2 days off. The new contract allows current employees to keep their Monday thru Friday schedules unless they move to another job position that requires them to work the 7 on, 2 off schedule, which will apply to all new employees hired.

Family-owned and operated Heaven Hill produces Evan Williams, one of the world’s top-selling bourbons. The spirits company’s other brands include Elijah Craig, Henry McKenna, Old Fitzgerald, Larceny and Parker’s Heritage Collection.


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