April 25, 2017
By Stephanie West
Great Neck, NY – Members of Teamsters Local 812, who deliver, sell, and merchandise Budweiser, Heineken, and other beer products to Nassau and Suffolk Counties will be on strike starting today.
The over 100 drivers and warehousemen, who work for Clare Rose, a private beer distribution company, voted down management’s “final offer” Friday, which would have imposed 30% wage cuts and ended the drivers’ pension.
“We are the middle-class families that make up Long Island,” said Mark Pooler, who has delivered beer at Clare Rose for 26 years. “While this company is making millions, they are trying to cut the wages and retirement benefits that our families depend on. We have bills to pay and mortgages to pay. Make no mistake, we will strike as long as it takes to protect our livelihoods.”
The last contract extension expired Friday. After months of negotiations without progress, the highly-profitable company put forward a “final offer” of wage and retirement cuts. Workers voted it down 107 to 9. The company notified the union that it intends to impose the harsh cuts anyway. Clare Rose is the sole distributor of Budweiser, Bud Lite, Heineken, 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 has done everything possible to reach a fair deal with Clare Rose, but the company is putting its greed ahead of its workers,” said Teamsters Local 812 President Ed Weber. “When there is no Bud, Heineken, or other beer brands at the supermarket or bar, Long Islanders will know who to blame: Clare Rose executives.”
The union has clearly stated that the strike will last until Clare Rose executives withdraw their draconian demands and agree to a fair contract with workers.
“These Teamsters have devoted their lives to the company and this is what they get?” asked Joe Vitta, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 812. “Our members are fighting back, and they have over a hundred thousand New York Teamsters standing behind them. We are going to protect these middle-class, Long Island jobs.”
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.