May 8, 2017 1:55 PM, EDT

Striking New York Truck Drivers Stage Rally at Brewery

Teamsters Local 812

Workers who went out on strike against the East Yaphank, N.Y.-based Clare Rose beer distributor held a rally at the Blue Point Brewery in Patchogue, N.Y., on May 6.

“The rally was focused on informing beer consumers and passersby about the labor abuses at Clare Rose,” said Alex Moore, a spokesman for Teamsters Joint Council 16.

Blue Point was hosting the Big Brew, helping homebrewers to celebrate National Homebrew Day. Clare Rose distributes Blue Point’s products to Long Island stores and restaurants

“We are not here to hurt the small-town brewer,” said Brandon Winslow, a shop steward and driver for Clare Rose, which distributes 10 million cases of beer each year in Nassau and Suffolk.

Sean Rose, CEO and president of the firm, the exclusive distributor of Anheuser-Busch InBev products, declined to comment on the rally. The union said about 100 people protested.

Clare Rose workers say they went out on strike in April to protect their pensions. The firm has offered replacement 401(k) plans and a 30% cut in wages, they say.

The company has said more than half of the strikers would get a raise under the latest contract offer, adding that the average driver would earn $70,000 a year and that only a portion of its workers would take a pay cut.

Joseph Vitta, the local’s secretary-treasurer, rejected that analysis on May 6. “They are eliminating middle-class jobs on Long Island,” he said.

The union spokesman said the workers found an ally in Blue Point. “They told us they supported the strikers at Clare Rose,” Moore said.