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 continues for more than a week, experts say consumers will likely see an impact on the big American national brands.
The three companies distribute popular beers including Miller products, Coors, Budweiser, and White Claw.
The union called the last offer insulting. They say they want higher wages and better benefits for workers.
“Compensation is always an issue, but what’s particularly problematic is the beverage companies’ proposed hours of work for our members – 12 hour shifts for five or six consecutive days. That’s excessive,” said Daniel Grace, the union’s secretary and treasurer. “The beverage companies know that our members are the driving force behind their operations and success, yet they think they can treat us like second-class citizens. We won’t stand for it.”
The strike impacts Philadelphia, Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery and Chester counties.
A DVIDA spokesperson says negotiations have been continuing for months and the companies are shocked it got to this point.
A spokesperson said in a statement, “Despite the abrupt work stoppage, we are committed to working through this with our union members and are hopeful we can get to a speedy resolution.”
People who work at beer stores say they understand why the workers are striking, but are worried about their business.
“Everyone has to make a living these days and with everything going up, it’s hard. It’s hard for everyone, and you know this company being a main artery right here on Grant (Avenue) and Academy (Road), I just hope we don ‘t lose any business,” said Natalia Neuls, who works at Beer Box.
Neuls says she has a delivery scheduled for Wednesday. She expects she could be sold out of several domestic beers before then and is already almost out of popular flavors of White Claw.
“I think we have a couple of 12 packs left but that’s with everything… luckily we have a lot stocked in, but some particular favorites that going fast for the week are just not going to be there,” she said.
Beer drinkers hope the contract issues are resolved soon.
“They’re going to have a lot of angry people. Not only with the prices going up with everything, they’re gonna take their alcohol away?” said Karen Chavot from Northeast Philadelphia.
On Monday afternoon, DVIDA issued a statement saying they are “shocked and disappointed.
“After months of collaborative and productive meetings, we are shocked and disappointed at this last-minute turnaround. The negotiating committee of the union’s own members unanimously agreed to accept and endorse a robust and aggressive long-term package that included the largest wage increase in our fifty-plus year history. It was proposed to recognize the hard work and critical role they play and to boost recruiting efforts to help ease demands on current teams. Despite the abrupt work stoppage, we are committed to working through this with our union members and are hopeful we can get to a speedy resolution. As we approach the summer holidays, we have contingency plans in place to minimize any disruption to our suppliers and the market.”
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