We May Face a 2022 Beer Shortage Due To Massive Worker Strike

by Victoria Santiago

A worker strike could lead to beer shortages in the new year. Workers that supply Heineken beer have been advocating for higher wages and accurate paychecks.

GXO Logistics manages supply chains and warehousing for the popular beer brand. After the company started using a new payroll system, union leaders say that at least 1,700 workers haven’t been paid correctly. This has been going on for nine months. Their pay and overtime work has been inconsistent because of the new system.

In 2022, GXO Logistics plans to supply drinks to 20,000 clubs, restaurants, and pubs. If their workers go on strike, this would cause a huge disruption in beer availability. The majority of union workers have already backed plans to go on strike. They’ll do an official full vote next month. The workers have no issue going on strike. In August of 2021, workers organized a walk-out after being offered a 1.4% raise. The walk-out was called off after the company increased the pay raise to 4%. To keep up with inflation, workers needed at least a 3.9% raise.

The Worker Shortage Is Affecting Most Industries

2021 has really felt like a snowball year. Inflation, supply and demand issues, and lack of workers all go hand in hand. It’s a vicious cycle that we can’t seem to shake. For one restaurant owner in Harrisonburg, Virginia, finding employees that stay has been a struggle. Mikey Reisenberg owns a Korean restaurant in Harrisonburg. In 2021 alone, he’s had 22 employees flake early on in the hiring process. They’ve all left during different times, of course, but most of them didn’t even stay long enough to really try the job out.

Reisenberg said that people have missed interviews, not shown up for their first shift, and quit during their first day on the job. From a business owner’s point of view, this seeming disinterest in work is frustrating. It’s easy to see how owners and managers can feel like people don’t want to work anymore. The bare minimum would be to show up to the job interview at least, right?

However, it’s a two-sided argument. Both sides play into each other. There has to be a way for businesses and workers to get on the same page. While businesses might believe that some people don’t want to work, the workers might think they’re being taken advantage of. We’ve had record inflation this year in all things. Plus, supply and demand issues put an additional strain on everyone. In light of all that, workers think they should be getting paid more, have more flexible hours, and receive benefits.

All fields are struggling, but the service industry is facing the biggest shortage of workers. Reisenberg says that it’s the #1 topic that business owners talk about when they’re together. There doesn’t seem to be a good resolution that doesn’t involve a little bit of risk and trust on both sides.