Teamsters Local 830 — which represents thousands of drivers, warehouse/production workers, and sales/marketing employees in the regional beverage industry — staged a strike Sunday against the Delaware Valley Importing Distributors Association, which includes sales and service of Penn Beer, 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 US national brands.
The three companies distribute popular beers including Miller, Coors, Budweiser and White Claw.
The union described the latest offer as 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’ suggested working hours for our members – 12-hour shifts for five or six consecutive days. That’s excessive,” said union secretary and treasurer, Daniel Grace. “Beverage companies understand that our members are the driving force behind their operations and their success, yet they believe they can treat us like second-class citizens. We will not defend that.”
The strike affected Philadelphia, Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery, and Chester counties.
A DVIDA spokesperson said negotiations have been going on for several months and companies have been shocked to get to this point.
“Despite the sudden cessation of work, we are committed to working through this with our union members and hope to be able to find a quick resolution,” a department spokesperson said in a statement.
People who work in breweries say they understand why the workers are on strike, but are concerned about their business.
“Everyone has to make a living these days and as everything progresses it’s hard. It’s hard for everyone, and you know this company is the main artery here on Grant Street and the Academy (Road), I just hope they don’t,” said Natalia Newells. , who works at Beer Box, “We won’t lose any business.”
Newell says she has a due date on Wednesday. She anticipates that many of the local beers could be sold out before then, and she’s already out of the popular flavors of White Claw.
“I think we have two of our 12-packs left but that’s it… Luckily we have a lot in stock, but some of my favorite items that are going fast this week won’t be there,” she said.
Beer drinkers hope the contract issues will be resolved soon.
“They’re going to have a lot of angry people. Not only with prices going up with everything, will they take their own liquor?” said Karen Shavut of Northeast Philadelphia.
On Monday afternoon, DVIDA released a statement saying it was “shocked and disappointed.
“After months of collaborative and productive meetings, we are shocked and frustrated by this last-minute turnaround. The union’s member negotiating committee unanimously agreed to accept and endorse a strong and bold long-term package that included the largest wage increase in our fifty-plus year history. To learn about hard work and the critical role they play and to bolster recruitment efforts to help mitigate demands on existing teams.Despite the sudden layoff, we are committed to working through this with our union members and hopefully we can come up with a quick resolution.As we approach summer vacation We have contingency plans in place to minimize any disruption to our suppliers and the market.”
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