Long Island beer distributor strike ends, workers to keep pensions

"This strike captured the imagination of Long Island workers who want to see a win for working people."

Back in May, we covered a worker strike against major Long Island beer distributor Clare Rose. At the time, more than 100 of the company’s 320 employees, most of whom were union members, had walked off the job in protest of a change in pay structure and their employer’s plan to stop contributing to their pension.

Several local businesses stopped buying beer from Clare Rose in solidarity. And since Clare Rose is the sole distributor of AB-InBev on Long Island (it also distributes Heineken products and some independent brands), many Long Islanders—and visitors to the Belmont Stakes, which also joined the boycott—spent the first half of the summer without any Budweiser.

Late last night, the strike ended.

On the strike’s 82nd day, Teamsters Local 812 and Clare Rose distributors reached an agreement. The distributor will continue to fund their pension and maintain wages that are “well above industry standards and Clare Rose’s April offer,” according to a Friday press release from the union.

“This strike captured the imagination of Long Island workers who want to see a win for working people,” said Ed Weber, President of Teamsters Local 812, in the release.

The union’s campaign on behalf of the striking workers included persuading city authorities to audit the distributor, purchasing a six-figure ad campaign in Long Island news outlets, and linking Clare Rose to AB-InBev wherever possible, presumably to encourage the distributor’s major supplier to pressure Clare Rose to settle with its workers.

Union members will cast a final vote on the agreement on Saturday.

H. Claire Brown is a senior staff writer for The Counter. Her work has also appeared in The Atlantic, The Guardian, and The Intercept and has won awards from the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, the New York Press Club, the Newswomen's Club of New York, and others. A North Carolina native, she now lives in Brooklyn.