New Agreement Ends Strike at Clare Rose After 82 Days

After nearly three months of striking, more than 100 union delivery drivers and warehouse workers have reached an agreement on a new three-year contract with Long Island beer distributor Clare Rose.

Last week, Teamsters Local 812 announced that it had struck a tentative deal with the beer wholesaler after negotiating terms through a private mediator.

Members voted 83-12 in favor of the new contract on Saturday afternoon, ending the strike after 82 days. Union drivers and warehouse workers officially returned to work on Sunday.

According to the New York Daily News, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo “quietly helped broker the deal.”

“Union labor is the backbone of our economy, and we will continue to do everything in our power to strengthen New York’s middle class families,” Cuomo told the outlet.

“We’re extremely happy that we will get our employees back to work,” Clare Rose CEO Sean Rose told Newsday.

The union’s five-year pact with Clare Rose — which sells Anheuser-Busch InBev, Heineken, Pabst Brewing and various craft beer products — had expired on March 31. Negotiations between the parties ceased on April 23, initiating the strike.

The new contract preserves workers’ pension plan, which Clare Rose had sought to eliminate in favor of a 401k program, and maintains wages above the industry standard despite eliminating drivers’ sales roles.

Teamsters Local 812 president Ed Weber issued a statement characterizing the new deal as a “win for working people.”

“We don’t have to make concessions every time a company wants higher profits,” he said. “I hope this is a sign of things to come. We can fight back and we can win.”

The new contract ends a nearly three-month impasse in which the company threatened to permanently replace the workers and sent employees letters directing them to the National Right to Work Defense Fund for assistance in quitting the union.

Workers, in turn, filed several charges of unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board.

During the strike, more than three dozen Long Island retailers pledged to boycott Clare Rose products, including Belmont Park and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza.

Clare Rose, which services about 5,000 Long Island businesses, is one of the largest beer wholesalers in the country. A 2011 Beverage Executive article listed the company as the 19th largest wholesaler in the U.S. with 10.9 million cases sold.