(Freehold, N.J.) – Teamster members, union allies and supporters are protesting Shore Point Distributing’s lockout of its workers, as are Shore Point’s retail customers.
On April 30, Shore Point, Freehold, New Jersey, locked out 113 of its workers in an attempt to force them to give up their pension, accept a 3-year wage freeze, and agree to give the company permission to change their health insurance plan and co-pays at any time.
These workers are members of Teamsters Local 701 in North Brunswick, New Jersey. Local 701 had been in negotiations for a new contract with Shore Point since Feb. 28, 2017. The workers and their union wanted to continue negotiations, but Shore Point locked them out instead.
Many retail outlets are placing signs in their windows that say:
“No MillerCoors Sold Here Until Shore Point Lockout Ends” and “I [heart] Locked-Out Teamsters at MillerCoors Distributor.”
“These workers do physically demanding labor every day that helps Shore Point earn its millions,” said Ron Lake, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local Union 701. “It is unconscionable that they would put their loyal workers out on the streets with no paychecks. That’s why we’re asking people to pass up beers that Shore Point delivers, like MillerCoors products, and why many of Shore Point’s customers aren’t serving beer the company distributes.”
One customer, Portside Bar & Liquors, posted a photo of the signs in its window on Facebook, along with these comments:
“At Portside we support the efforts of the hard working people of Teamsters Union 701. Many of whom we know personally. These are men with families who are simply looking for a fair contract to support themselves & their loved ones. As a result of the treatment of these workers, we will not be ordering any more products from Shore Point Distributing until this issue is resolved. We will sell the products we have remaining from previous orders. We apologize for an inconvenience this may cause you. Sometimes it is more important to stand up for what is right, rather than what is profitable.”
Another customer, Main Street Bar & Grill, posted on Facebook:
“ATTENTION ALL CUSTOMERS: There is a labor dispute happening with the Drivers for Shore Point Distributors. From what we know they have been locked out and the benefits for them and their families have been cancelled. WE HAVE DECIDED TO STAND BEHIND THE DRIVERS. We have relationships with them all for many years. We will STOP selling products from Shore Point Distributors once we run out of product on hand. We will not be buying any new inventory. WE feel it is THE RIGHT THING TO DO.”
“I want to work,” said JD Lacey, a driver and member of Local 701. “I’ve worked at Shore Point for 12 years and my family depends on my paycheck. It’s like the company is trying to starve us into giving in to all its demands.”
“When wages don’t keep up with the cost of living and when people don’t have secure retirements, this is bad not only for families but for local businesses and entire communities,” Lake said. “Employees can’t afford to subsidize Shore Point’s profits with their retirement plans. New Jersey communities deserve better, and Shore Point needs to end the lockout and meet us back at the bargaining table. We are grateful for all the community support we’ve received so far, especially from many bars, restaurants and stores.”
Jim Keady, owner of the Lighthouse Tavern, distributed this statement of support:
“ON MAY DAY (AND BEYOND) THE LIGHTHOUSE TAVERN WILL STAND WITH THE TEAMSTERS LOCAL 701.
To Our Loyal Customers:
Some of you may be aware that the Shore Point Distributing Co. has locked out their workers due to a stalemate in contract negotiations. Given my commitments to labor rights, the collective bargaining process, and solidarity with working families (I did labor rights advocacy for 15 years prior to taking over the bar when my Dad died), I have made the decision that we will not purchase products from Shore Point until this matter is resolved.
It is not lost on me that the owners/management of Shore Point chose to take this action of bad faith on May Day – International Labor Day. Now more than ever in our nation, working families and labor rights are under attack and it is imperative that those of us in the middle class, union and non-union alike, stand together in solidarity.
This means that in the coming days we may be short on some of your favorite domestic, import, and craft beer choices. To be clear, we will still have a selection of beers from our other distributors, we may just run out of the stock we have from Shore Point’s selection.
We hope you will be understanding during this time and will join us in letting Shore Point know that as beer drinkers, you care about the men and women who deliver the beer, and you want them to be bargained with in good faith.”