Labor Closes Ranks Behind Long Island Budweiser Strikers as Distributor Brings in Out-of-State Scabs
Teamsters National President Hoffa and New York AFL-CIO President Cilento Pledge Resources and Political Power
Budweiser Delivery Workers at Clare Rose are Striking Against 30% Wage Cuts and End of Their Pension
National and statewide labor organizations pledged their support for striking Budweiser delivery workers as their strike at Clare Rose enters its fifth day, and as the company brings in out-of-state replacement workers. Jim Hoffa, national president of the Teamsters, and Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO, both released statements pledging resources to help Teamsters Local 812 win the strike.
“The full might of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters is behind the members of Local 812 in their fight at Clare Rose,” said Jim Hoffa, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which represents 1.4 million workers in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico.
“We represent Budweiser and other brewery and transportation workers across the country. Such union busting and draconian wage cuts are unheard of at similar distributors elsewhere. We intend to put forward our political, economic, and organizing resources to ensure that these workers get a new union contract that protects their wages and retirement.”
The striking workers are also receiving support from closer to home. The New York State AFL-CIO also pledged to back the Teamsters and President Mario Cilento planned to join the workers on the picket line Friday afternoon.
“The 2.5 million members of the New York State AFL-CIO stand with our brothers and sisters of Local 812 as they stand up to corporate greed,” said Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO. “The dedicated men and women of Local 812 deserve a fair contract. They will have the full resources of the New York State AFL-CIO at their disposal throughout this contract fight. Shame on Clare Rose for turning their backs on the very working men and women who helped make the highly-profitable company what it is today. The labor movement speaks with one voice and stands shoulder to shoulder in support of fighting for job security, better wages, and retirement protections.”
The support could not come at a more important time, as Clare Rose began employing scabs to undermine the strike. The workers come from Minnesota-based Strom Engineering Corporation, a notorious supplier of strike-breaking temps.
“If it wasn’t clear before, Clare Rose is trying to bust this union and break this strike,” said Ed Weber, President of Teamsters Local 812. “Long Island is union country and scabs aren’t welcome here. If Clare Rose doesn’t get that, then they don’t get Long Island. I urge Clare Rose to send these scabs back where they came from and sit down to bargain a fair contract with your workers.”
More and more Long Island stores and bars are running out of Clare Rose products as the strike gains momentum. Clare Rose is the sole distributor of Budweiser, Bud Lite, Heineken, Pabst, Blue Point, Greenport, and several other craft beers for Long Island. It is headquartered in East Yaphank with an additional facility in Melville.
The union negotiated with Clare Rose for months without progress before the highly-profitable company put forward a “final offer” of 30% wage cuts for drivers and ending the workers’ pension. Workers voted it down 107 to 9. When the company notified the union that it intended to impose the harsh cuts anyway, the workers went on strike. The strike began Sunday night.
Less than one day into the strike, Clare Rose took the drastic step of announcing that it is permanently replacing the striking workers, despite legal prohibitions against doing so.
The union said the strike will last until Clare Rose executives withdraw their draconian demands and agree to a fair contract with workers.
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.