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Clare Rose, striking workers call talks 'constructive'

A passing motorist responds to striking employees of

A passing motorist responds to striking employees of beer distributor Clare Rose who manned the picket line along William Floyd Parkway in Yaphank on June 23, 2017. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Striking union workers and executives of beer distributor Clare Rose held “constructive” meetings with a mediator Wednesday and Thursday and plan to resume negotiations, the company and union representatives said.

A spokesman for the union said the two parties are scheduled to meet again next Thursday.

“We had constructive dialogue with Clare Rose this week and hope to reach an agreement that allows our members to provide for their families and have a secure retirement,” Ed Weber, president of Teamsters Local 812 said in a statement. “We thank the Long Island community for its support as our strike continues.”

Clare Rose, a third-generation family business, said in a statement Friday that the talks “were constructive and resulted in what we believe to be progress on several key issues.” The company added, “We hope that this initial forward movement will serve as the basis for a new collective bargaining agreement.”

More than 100 delivery drivers and warehouse workers at Clare Rose, headquartered in East Yaphank, went on strike on April 23, after months of unsuccessful contract negotiations.

The union said Clare Rose proposed eliminating a sales function drivers provide, resulting in a 30 percent wage cut. Members also objected to a planned conversion from a defined benefit pension plan to a 401(k).

The company said only a quarter of striking employees would get lower wages under its offer, and that more than half would receive a raise. Clare Rose began hiring full-time replacement workers in May.

Clare Rose is the exclusive Long Island distributor of Anheuser-Busch InBev products.

The strike is one of only three local work stoppages to go more than 60 days in the last 10 years, according to data from the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service. Teamsters Local 807 workers at Alside Supply Center in Old Bethpage have been on strike since April 1.

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