Safety in breweries is paramount.
On this episode of the Brewer to Brewer Podcast Natalie Rose Baldwin of Wayfinder Beer interviews Cat Wiest of Yakima Chief Hops. The two quickly turn the conversation to brewery safety and Wiest talks about why she advocates for brewery unionization.
Cat Wiest: We have a friend that calls me OSHA eyes. I’m safety officer Cat. If I see something. I’m just kind of like, “Ah, no, that’s not safe. You shouldn’t be doing that.” But in a small brewery, there is a you do it or you go home mentality.
Natalie Rose Baldwin: You are always say the voice I have in my head saying “if you have to get inside a vessel to clean it, you’re doing something wrong.”
Cat Wiest: I just want everybody to be safe at work. And remember that whatever you’re earning, whatever your wages as a brewer, it’s not worth getting your arm mangled, or caustic sprayed in your face. Protect yourself.
Natalie Rose Baldwin: Sometimes it’s hard to advocate for those situations when you are in smaller breweries.
Cat Wiest: And there’s a line of people that want your job. I can’t tell you how many times I had some people come in and say “I’d really love to work here” and we wouldn’t have jobs available. Then they offer to do anything and to do it for free.
Don’t work for free. Professionals don’t work for free. And it cheapens our labor.
And to the breweries out there: don’t ever take on an unpaid intern. That’s unethical.
Natalie Rose Baldwin: I remember when I first started brewing you said the same thing. Thankfully I had people, just like you did, who told me to advocate for myself and to not work for free.
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The above transcript was condensed and edited for clarity.