Clare Rose Agrees to Reopen Negotiations with Teamsters, Strike Continues
Today, Long Island beer distributor Clare Rose agreed to reopen negotiations with Teamsters Local 812 for a new contract. The two-month strike by Teamsters members will continue until a new contract is finalized. Workers have been on strike since April 23rd, after the company cut wages by 30% and ended the pension.
“We are pleased that Clare Rose has agreed to reopen negotiations with the union and that the company has accepted the participation of a professional mediator to help us reach an agreement on a new contract,” said Teamsters Local 812 President Ed Weber. “Our members have sacrificed a lot over the last two months, but they did it to protect the jobs that their families depend on. We hope that through continued negotiation we can reach a new contract that restores our members livelihoods and retirements. But make no mistake, the strike is not over and we will continue fighting to defend these Long Island working families.”
Pressure has been building on Clare Rose, as beer taps and shelf space across Long Island shifts over from Clare Rose products, like Anheuser-Busch, to competing brands. The Belmont Stakes joined the boycott and organizers quickly changed beer distributors, turning the park’s “Budweiser Food Truck Village” into the “Coors Light Food Truck Village” overnight. Many bars, either in support of strikers or simply fed up with poor service from scab replacements, have switched over to Miller, Coors, or other beer brands. The union postponed a planned rally at the Newark brewery that supplies Clare Rose upon news that the company was coming back to the table.
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 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.