Rogue of the Week: Rogue Ales

Don McIntosh of the NW Labor Press--a worker's rights publication that's not exactly neutral--has a devastating article about how Rogue Brewery treats its workers. The main issue is an effort to unionize Rogue that the management has aggressively fought. They have deployed tactics familiar to anyone who has followed labor relations in the US over the last 20 years--all legal by today's laws. But worse than that, McIntosh paints the picture of a hostile work environment where management acts capriciously to ensure full compliance. Examples:
  • But what provoked him to call the Teamsters was a January 2011 company meeting at which a brewer was fired in front of everyone else for having made sophomoric comments on a “letter of accountability.” Employees had been made to write the letter after some production mistakes. Alruiz says he remembers the boss’s exact words: “F*** off. You’re fired.”
  • Alruiz had his own complaint: He says when he agreed to serve as crew leader, he was promised a $1-an-hour raise, but didn’t receive it.
  • A week after filing the petition [to request a union election], Rogue Ales suspended Alruiz for two days, ostensibly for arguing with a co-worker. A week after that, it fired two of his friends, also union supporters.
And McIntosh also noted this on the company website: “Rogue is not for everyone,” says the jobs page on Rogue Ales’ web site, which adds the company’s opinion that “job security is a myth,” and “seniority is not fair.”

Rogue is a for-profit company and they can run their business however they wish. Furthermore, we haven't heard Rogue's side of the story, nor from the workers directly. Still, this is a hell of a lot bigger deal than honest pints or expensive beer and food. IAnd it's especially ironic, given Rogue's socialist-revolutionary brand identity.) As a consumer, I can also spend my money however I wish. I'd love to hear from Brett or Jack--they refused to talk to McIntosh--or Rogue workers. Holler if you want to clarify anything (the_beerax (at) yahoo (dot) com). In the meantime, I think my beer dollars will be directed somewhere other than toward Rogue.