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Heaven Hill employees on strike in Bardstown

Members argue language in the current contract referencing traditional and non-traditional schedules could require members to work weekends.

BARDSTOWN, Ky. — Employees at one of the country's largest distillers, Heaven Hill, won't show up to work on Monday. 

They'll be outside the Bardstown buildings, standing along the road with signs. 

"Whatever it takes, as long as it takes," Plant Chair Larry Newman explained.

Heaven Hill presented UFCW local 23D with a new contract last week. The union brought the contract to its 420 members and asked them to choose: agree to it or go on strike.

96.1% of members that voted chose to go on strike.

Local president Matt Aubrey said, "The members feel mistreated."

Members argue language in the current contract referencing traditional and non-traditional schedules could require members to work weekends.

Newton said the potential weekend requirement was rejected by members because of its impact on their families. 

"This schedule is going to take time away from us and our kids and our family," he said. "We are going to miss everything. We are going to miss their graduations, we are going to miss birthdays, all of that stuff. We are going to be working weekends."

Credit: Tom Lally - WHAS11

Heaven Hill provided the following statement to WHAS11 News:

"Thursday evening, the membership of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 23-D failed to ratify a new five-year contract with Heaven Hill. Since the company was founded, the support of our employees has been a source of pride and we have had productive conversations with the union for several months now regarding components of the contract. We will continue to collaborate with UFCW leadership toward passage of this top-of-class workforce package."

Those on the picket line say they hope it won't take long, but they're prepared to wait for what they want.

Contact reporter Tom Lally at TLally@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter.

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