In 1962, Coors® filed a $10 million lawsuit against Teemsters Union for its blocking of Coors beer. Jimmy Hoffa, in retaliation, tried to organize a union at the Coors porcelain factory in Golden, Colorado.
Joseph Coors was president of the Coors Porcelain Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Adolph Coors Company®. I was an engineer working at the factory in Golden, Colorado. Here is a brief history of the company:
Brief history of Coors Porcelain Company
In the early days of brewing, eastern breweries became jealous of Coors Brewery’s marketing efforts and forced glass bottle manufacturers to stop supplying bottles to Coors. They did this by threatening bottle manufacturers that they would not buy bottles from any company that sold bottles to Coors.
At the time, Coors was not supplying beer east of the Mississippi, but eastern manufacturers thought the threat was real in the west and could spread east.
As a footnote, in 1958 in Chicago at the Palmer House, while Carol Channing was singing Diamonds are a girl’s best friend and tossed rhinestone necklaces on our table, Joe Coors told our dinner group that the company would never sell beer east of the Mississippi River. I told him I wanted the first dealership east of the Mississippi. I should have stayed to pick it up.
Adolph Coors was not intimidated by the bottle embargo. He hired glassmakers and they made bottles for Coors. Eventually, the eastern bottle makers got mad at the eastern brewers because they had lost business. They were immediately back in the graces of Adolph Coors and again supplying bottles.
Adolph Coors did not want to lay off his new bottle manufacturing employees. The bottle factory converted to pottery and produced vessels to store malt and other items in the brewery.
During World War I, the Allied blockade stopped the flow of German chemical porcelain into the United States. This was a burden on chemical industry and laboratories throughout the country. The federal government asked 54 ceramic companies to make porcelain. Coors was the only company that was successful because Adolph Coors had connections in Germany that provided him with the technology to make chemical porcelain.
Coors later manufactured alumina ceramics using technology provided by AC Sparkplug and later by other companies. During World War II, DC-3 flights brought pottery to the manhattan project from the Coors factory.
Coors substrates for solar cells were on the Telstar satellite created by Bell Labs. In 1962, Telstar broadcast the first television signals from space allowing transatlantic television transmission. Coors supplied beryllium oxide and other ceramics to government-sponsored projects. Since I was under a confidentiality agreement at the time and possibly (but not likely) some elements may still be secret, I will not describe other activities. Since then, the company has expanded to several technically oriented companies outside of Colorado.
Return to Hoffa’s visit
The Coors family was always anti-union. A bitter strike at the Coors Porcelain Company had sparked earlier actions that caused deep resentment in some employees. Hoffa, in light of the Coors lawsuit, decided to try organizing the union again. Although the lawsuit was brought by the Adolph Coors Company, Hoffa had to recognize the union at the brewery. Instead, he attacked the Coors Porcelain Company.
In preparation for Hoffa’s visit, Joe Coors called salaried staff into the company cafeteria and told us that union activities would not be tolerated in any way. He was especially concerned about the machine shop where the tools were made. Union activity often began there. As I recall, Joe said some things that weren’t exactly legal to say, but I’m too old to remember the details. Later, many tools were outsourced.
When Hoffa came to the factory, I saw him pass out flyers to employees as they left work. He was chatting with them at the front door and shaking hands without trespassing on company property or doing anything that could be considered illegal.
I walked into the factory and some of our top officials were standing at workbenches watching the show. I told them they looked like a bunch of idiots and to come to my office and look, which they did.
That night, Hoffa held a meeting for our employees. The meeting was attended by two salaried employees where Coors supplied the beer. They drank beer with Hoffa, shook his hand, and listened to his speech. These two appeared on the evening television news.
One of the most amazing things happened the next day. He was sure that they would be fired immediately. They were not!
Hoffa impressed the worker. I understand that she lived in the same simple house in suburban Detroit for many years. However, he was unable to organize a new union at the Coors Porcelain Company factory.
Hoffa spent some time in prison beginning in 1967. Here is an excerpt from [http://tinyurl.com/r726c] Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren would later call the conviction an “offensive to the quality and impartiality of federal law enforcement.” United States President Richard M. Nixon commuted Jimmy Hoffa’s sentence and he was released from prison on December 24, 1971.
Here is another excerpt from the same reference: In July 1975, Jimmy Hoffa disappeared. He was last seen at the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and was declared legally dead in 1982.
There was a memorial service for Hoffa on July 31, 1995, twenty years after his disappearance, attended by more than two thousand people. Some, however, claim that he is still alive.
Incidentally, Adolph Coors, Jr., who was president of the Adolph Coors Company just prior to Hoffa’s visit, was killed during an attempted kidnapping in 1960 by Joseph Corbett, a former Fulbright scholar. Watch [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Corbett],_Jr.
Adolph Coors, Jr. was an excellent leader and I dedicated two editions of my college text Ceramics: industrial processing and testing to the. Ad Coors knows how to solve and avoid problems better than his brothers Bill and Joe.
A little fun to make you laugh
I can’t resist telling you an Ad Coors story here.
While Joe Coors was in school, Bill Coors ran the china plant. A worker named Eli was an oven loader and was still working the same job while I was there.
Eli was rebuilding the furnace deck configuration when Bill told him not to do it his way but Bill’s way. Eli said that if he built the decks Bill’s way, there would be a big mess in the oven and he (Eli) would have to clean it up.
Bill insisted on having his way. Eli told him to shove the oven up his ass and went home.
When Ad heard what had happened, he called Eli at home and told him to come to his office. When Eli arrived, Ad walked him and Bill to the oven.
Here’s what Ad Coors had to say: “You’re both wrong!
“Now, Bill, if you put the oven cabinets (refractory) your way, there will be a big accident in the oven just like Eli said.
“Now Eli, you’re wrong too. You know Bill can’t shove that oven up his ass.
Back to Hoffa
Hoffa is back in the news. For some reason, the FBI wants her body.
Looking at the news footage, it looks like the entire FBI is shoveling dirt on a horse farm in Milford Township. Now the barn is collapsing if it hasn’t already.
Wouldn’t it be better to put all this effort into finding the terrorist?
Where is Osama Bin Laden anyway?
He is drinking lemonade in Mecca as I said in another article. See http://www.ezinearticles.com/?Osama-Bin-Ladens-Winter-Home&id=104229
Hoffa, Coors, Joseph Coors, Coors Porcelain Company, Adolph Coors Company, embargo, lawsuit, union, Golden Colorado, bottles, blockade, truckers, Osama Bin Laden, news, murder
copyright©2006 John T. Jones, Ph.D.