June 13, 2017
By Silver Krieger
New York, NY – On Thursday, June 8th, just days before the June 10th Belmont Stakes, Belmont Park announced that in support of strikers at Anheuser-Busch distributor Clare Rose, it will no longer serve Anheuser-Busch products.
Clare Rose drivers and warehouse workers, members of Teamsters Local 812, have been striking since April 23rd, over massive cuts to drivers’ wages, and the termination of the workers’ pension. Instead, Belmont Park will use beer vendor Manhattan Beer, which will supply Coors products. The timing of the switch dealt a huge blow to Clare Rose, as attendance at the Belmont Stakes runs between 50,000 and over 100,000.
Many Belmont workers are represented by Teamsters Local 814, and support the strikers. “I am happy to know that the Belmont Stakes will be free of Clare Rose beer,” said Harry Rice, jockey valet at Belmont Park and Teamsters Local 814 shop steward. “All the Teamsters at Belmont are in solidarity with our brothers on strike at Clare Rose. It’s nice to know that NYRA values the relationship with the Teamsters.”
Over three dozen businesses on Long Island are already boycotting Anheuser-Busch, refusing deliveries and leaving their shelves empty or filling them with different brands, and hanging signs in their windows reading “No Anheuser-Busch Sold Here Until Clare Rose Strike Ends.” Even over the Memorial Day weekend, the second biggest beer-buying time after July 4th, business owners stood fast. “Our business is boycotting Clare Rose until the strike ends,” said Jon Cusano of Brownstone Brewing Company in Ronkonkoma. “We need to support these middle-class families so they can have fair wages and decent pensions.”
On May 25th, Anheuser-Busch delivered raises and a continued pension plan to its employees in Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, where it employs them directly, leaving Long Island workers at the mercy of Clare Rose’s tactics, which include firing employees after striking for one day, and replacing them with out-of-state workers. Clare Rose has refused to budge, despite being now subject to an audit by the Brookhaven IDA. The company had received over a million dollars in tax breaks, but was required to maintain employment levels as a condition of the breaks. Now, it is likely in violation of the agreement, and future subsidies could be revoked, and past subsidies may have to be repaid.