GREAT NECK, N.Y. – Teamsters Local 812 filed an unfair labor practice charge against Clare Rose, the Budweiser distributor for Long Island, on Thursday at the National Labor Relations Board. It is the fifth charge the union has filed over the last month and the government agency is currently taking testimony and investigating the other charges.
“Clare Rose needs to drop the union busting, the threats, and the wage and benefit cuts,” said Billy Schildt, a Teamsters Local 812 member who has worked at Clare Rose since he was a teenager. “If Sean Rose wants to end the strike, he should stop trying to break up the union and come back to the table to negotiate fair wages and pensions for his workforce.”
Workers at Clare Rose have been on strike since April 23rd, when the company unilaterally cut drivers’ wages by 30 percent and ended the workers pension. After workers began the strike, Clare Rose notified both the union and the workers individually that they would be permanently replaced. Clare Rose has since brought replacement workers from out-of-state.
The latest charge stems from Clare Rose CEO Sean Rose’s bad faith bargaining and attempts to undermine the workers’ labor rights. On Thursday, Sean Rose approached a group of union members on the picket line and said that if they would agree to give up their pensions, he would “soften the blow” on some union members. It is a violation of federal law for an employer to go around union representatives and negotiate directly with union members. The comments also show the two parties are not at “impasse,” the legal premise that Clare Rose used to implement draconian wage and benefit cuts.
Previous Unfair Labor Practice charges against Clare Rose accused the company of threatening union members and unlawfully reducing wages and ending benefit programs.
The comments from Sean Rose are only the company’s latest attempt to undermine the union. Last month, the striking union members received letters signed by Clare Rose executives, telling them how to end their union membership and directing them to the National Right to Work Defense Fund for more information and assistance.
While Clare Rose has chosen anti-union tactics, many Long Island small businesses have supported the Clare Rose workers. A photo of a Handy Pantry sign in Manorville went viral on social media with the company’s message, “We stand behind our drivers! Not taking Bud deliveries until contract is reached!” Many others have refused Clare Rose deliveries and pledged their support to the striking Teamsters.
More and more Long Island stores and bars have run 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 imposed huge wage and benefits cuts. The union said the strike against the company’s illegal actions 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.