Teamsters Local 830 — which represents thousands of drivers, warehouse/production workers and sales/marketing personnel in the regional beverage industry — went on strike Sunday against the Delaware Valley Importing Distributors Association, which includes Penn Beer Sales and Service, Origlio Beverages and Muller. inc
If the strike lasts more than a week, experts say consumers are likely to see major American national brands impacted.
The three companies distribute popular beers including Miller products, Coors, Budweiser and White Claw.
The union called the latest offer insulting. They say they want higher wages and better benefits for workers.
“Remuneration is always an issue, but what is particularly problematic is the drinks companies’ proposed working hours for our members – 12-hour shifts for five or six consecutive days. That’s overkill,” said Daniel Grace, the union’s secretary and treasurer. “Beverage companies know that our members are the driving force behind their operations and success, but they believe they can treat us like second-class citizens. We will not accept that.”
The strike will affect Philadelphia, Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery and Chester counties.
A DVIDA spokesman says negotiations have been going on for months and companies are shocked it has come to this.
A spokesman said in a statement: “Despite the abrupt work stoppage, we are committed to working this through with our union members and hope we can come to a speedy resolution.”
People who work in beer shops say they understand why workers are on strike but are worried about their business.
“Everyone has to make a living these days and with anything going up, it’s hard. It’s hard for everyone and you know this company is a main artery here at Grant (Avenue) and Academy (Road), I just hope we don’t lose business,” said Natalia Neuls, who works at Beer Box.
Neuls says she has a delivery scheduled for Wednesday. She anticipates that she may have sold out of several local beers by then and is already almost out of popular White Claw flavors.
“I think we still have a few 12 packs left, but that’s all … luckily we have a lot in stock, but some particular favorites going fast for the week just won’t be there,” she said.
Beer drinkers hope that the contractual issues will soon be clarified.
“You’re going to have a lot of angry people. Not only are prices going up on everything, they’re going to take away their alcohol too?” said Karen Chavot of Northeast Philadelphia.
On Monday afternoon, DVIDA issued a statement saying they were “shocked and disappointed.
“After months of collaborative and productive meetings, we are shocked and disappointed by this last minute turnaround. The bargaining committee of the union’s own members unanimously agreed to accept and support a robust and aggressive long-term package that included the largest wage increase in our 50+ year history. It has been suggested that recognizing the hard work and the crucial role they play, and increasing recruitment efforts to ease the demands on current teams. Despite the abrupt stoppage of work, we are committed to working this through with our union members and hope we can find a quick solution. As we approach the summer holidays, we have contingency plans in place to minimize disruption to our suppliers and the market.”
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