The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which represents 1.4 million members, issued its support April 27 for Teamsters Local 812 in its strike against East Yaphank, N.Y., beer distributor Clare Rose.
“The full might of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters is behind the members of Local 812 in their fight at Clare Rose,” General President Jim Hoffa said. “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.”
Hoffa is the son of former Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa.
Clare Rose didn’t have an immediate response. Earlier this week, CEO Sean Rose said the company was “disappointed that the union decided to reject our contract proposals” and that “the company’s proposals were made in good faith and were designed to eliminate outdated work practices.”
Nearly 130 union delivery drivers and warehouse workers at Clare Rose began striking April 23, after months of unsuccessful contract negotiations.
Union members said the company’s three-year contract eliminates a sales function drivers provide, cutting wages by about 30%. The company also proposed moving from a pension to a 401(k) retirement plan, they said.
On April 24, the union said it received a letter from an outside attorney for the company that the strikers would be “permanently replaced.”
Striking Clare Rose workers were sent letters this week signed by company executives informing them how to resign from the union if they’d like to cross picket lines without being fined, a union spokesman said April 27.
Clare Rose, an 80-year-old, third-generation family business, distributes about 10 million cases of beer annually to 5,000 bars, restaurants and convenience stores throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties. It is a major distributor for Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev, which owns brands such as Budweiser, Bud Light and Blue Point.
Several Long Island businesses gave mixed reports on the impact of the strike.
“We usually receive deliveries twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, but we didn’t get it this week,” Kedar Patel, manager of the Speedway gas station at 60 Jericho Turnpike in Jericho, said April 27. “We still have some beer, but we’re already running low.”
Other retailers said their experience was different.
“As of right now, our operation has not been affected,” said Or Raitses, vice president and general counsel at supermarket chain Best Market.