Union delivery drivers and warehouse workers for East Yaphank beer distributor Clare Rose went on strike Sunday night.
Union leaders said the decision to strike, announced Sunday morning, came after months of negotiations with the private, third-generation family business were unsuccessful. Clare Rose is a major distributor for Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev, which owns brands such as Budweiser, Bud Light and Blue Point, as well as Heineken beer.
Sean Rose, chief executive of the more than 80-year-old business, said in a prepared statement the company was “disappointed that the union decided to reject our contract proposals.” He said he would not comment on negotiation specifics “other than to say that the company’s proposals were made in good faith and were designed to eliminate outdated work practices that are virtually nonexistent in our industry today.”
Union members, represented by Teamsters Local 812, said a new three-year contract eliminates a sales function drivers provide, resulting in a roughly 30 percent wage cut. Union members said the company also proposed converting from a pension to a 401(k) retirement plan.
Clare Rose distributes roughly 10 million cases of beer annually to 5,000 bars, restaurants and convenience stores throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Rose said the company has “made plans to ensure that our customers will continue to receive the high level of service to which they’ve become accustomed.”