The Four Roses strike ended Friday afternoon after the unions representing striking workers and the bourbon maker reached a tentative agreement.
Employees could be back on the job by as soon as Monday.
“We’re all just excited. It’s a good day for Four Roses and it’s a good day for workers,” said Jeff Royalty, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 10d.
Four Roses released a statement saying the agreement received “unanimous union board endorsement,” which ended the walkout. The company “looks forward to beginning full production again soon.”
The company and three unions that represent 53 hourly employees at a distilling operation in Lawrenceburg and a bottling and maturation facility near Cox’s Creek were at odds over changes to a sick leave policy and other provisions in a five-year master contract.
The workers left the job Sept. 7 and had picketed outside both locations until Friday afternoon, when the parties emerged from a day-long bargaining session.
A major issue for the unions was a company proposal to change the sick leave policy for incoming employees, providing workers 10 sick days per year but prohibiting them from carrying them over to the next year or bank them, as current employers can.
Instead, the new hires would have been eligible for short-term disability. The unions balked at what they described as a two-tier package for benefits that treats current workers differently from those hired later.
In the end, Royalty said, the parties agreed that workers would get the option to keep the current sick leave policy or sign up for short-term disability. Both new workers hired in and those now on the payroll can choose either program, he said.
“We stood our ground on two tier,” Royalty said, adding that the company was receptive to reaching a compromise.
The unions really appreciated the work on the deal by Ryan Ashley, Four Roses’ chief operating officer, he said.
Four Roses, a subsidiary of Japanese beverage conglomerate Kirin Holdings, also agreed to a provide a $2,000 signing bonus after the deal is ratified and a bonus in the first year of a new contract of $1,500.
Annual bonuses would decline in each year of the agreement to $600. Employees also will receive wages increases of between 30 cents and 50 cents an hour annually. Those raises would be retroactive to Aug. 1.