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Clare Rose, union meetings hold talks with mediator

Striking employees of beer distributor Clare Rose on

Striking employees of beer distributor Clare Rose on the picket line in Yaphank June 23, 2017. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

East Yaphank beer distributor Clare Rose and union leaders negotiated with the help of a private mediator Wednesday night and planned to do so again Thursday amid a strike that is in its third month, the company’s CEO and the union said.

The two sides said in late June that the two parties planned to work with an arbitrator to bring a resolution to the strike. Teamsters Local 812 said at the time that Martin F. Scheinman, a Port Washington-based mediator and arbitrator, would work with the two sides.

More than 100 Clare Rose delivery drivers and warehouse workers have been on strike since April 23, following months of unsuccessful contract negotiations.

“We are pleased to resume negotiations with Clare Rose,” Ed Weber, president of Local 812 said in a statement. “The union is committed to good faith bargaining and hopes the company will agree to a contract that preserves our members’ livelihoods.”

Sean Rose, chief executive of the third-generation family business, said in a statement, “Our hope is that the two parties can resolve some of the key contract issues so that we may move beyond the current impasse. If we remain deadlocked on these issues, a resolution imposed by regulators could be many months away, which would certainly not be in the interest of either Clare Rose or the union.”

In late April, Local 812 filed charges against Clare Rose through the National Labor Relations Board. A formal complaint by the board has not been issued, according to the board’s website.

Union members said Clare Rose’s contract proposal eliminated a sales function drivers provide, resulting in a 30 percent wage cut. The union also objected to a proposed conversion from a defined benefit pension plan to a 401(k) retirement plan.

Clare Rose said only a quarter of striking employees would get lower wages under its contract offer, and that more than half would receive a raise.

In May, Clare Rose began hiring full-time replacement workers.

Clare Rose distributes Anheuser-Busch InBev products including Budweiser and Bud Light to 5,000 businesses throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

More than 40 local bars, restaurants and convenience stores have boycotted buying AB InBev products until the strike is resolved.

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