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Belmont Stakes Boycotts Anheuser-Busch and Clare Rose Over Strike

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On the eve of the Belmont Stakes, Belmont Park joined the boycott of Anheuser-Busch distributor Clare Rose over the company’s poor labor practices and ongoing strike. Clare Rose drivers and warehouse workers, members of Teamsters Local 812, have been on strike since April 23rd, when the company illegally cut drivers’ wages by 30% and ended the workers’ pension.

Going forward, the beer vendor for Belmont Park is Manhattan beer, which will supply Coors products to replace the Anheuser-Busch products previously supplied by Clare Rose. Belmont Park notified Teamsters officials of the decision on Thursday.“This is a huge blow to Clare Rose and Anheuser-Busch,” said Ed Weber, President of Teamsters Local 812. “More and more on Long Island, Clare Rose and Anheuser-Busch are being associated with union busting and killing jobs. We thank Belmont Park for standing with Clare Rose workers. You shouldn’t be able to get away with hurting workers, and our New York institutions are showing you won’t get away with it in New York.”

Teamsters Local 812 negotiated with Clare Rose for months without progress before the highly-profitable company imposed the huge wage and benefits cuts, causing the strike. After workers had been on strike less than one day, the company sent them letters saying they were being permanently replaced and directing them to the National Right to Work Defense Fund for assistance quitting the union.

“The support from our neighbors on Long Island has kept us strong,” said Louis Chiarelli, who has been a warehouse worker at Clare Rose for 26 years. “We need more businesses to follow the lead of Belmont Park and boycott Clare Rose until it restores our wages and benefits and brings us back to work.”

Other Teamster locals that represent security guards, jockey valets, and other workers at the racetrack cheered the decision to boycott Clare Rose.

“I am happy to know that the Belmont Stakes will be free of Clare Rose beer,” said Harry Rice, jockey valet at Belmont Park and Teamsters Local 814 shop steward. “All the Teamsters at Belmont are in solidarity with our brothers on strike at Clare Rose.  It’s nice to know that NYRA values the relationship with the Teamsters.”

Clare Rose’s heavy-handed tactics have tarnished the Anheuser-Busch brand on Long Island. Before Belmont Park, more than three dozen Clare Rose customers were already boycotting Anheuser-Busch, citing the company’s abuse of workers. Across Long Island, stores and bars are hanging signs reading “No Anheuser-Busch Sold Here Until Clare Rose Strike Ends.”

The Brookhaven IDA has also opened an audit of Clare Rose. The company has received over a million dollars in tax breaks from the IDA, but is required to maintain employment levels in exchange. Clare Rose’s decision to fire its union workforce likely puts the company in violation and the IDA can revoke future subsidies and even demand repayment of past subsidies.

Teamsters Local 812 represents more than 3,500 Teamster families working in the beverage industry. Its members produce, haul, deliver, merchandise, and sell soda, water, beer, and sports drinks throughout the New York metropolitan area.