Workers in the local beverage industry have gone on strike, potentially affecting the availability of beer and other drinks in the Philadelphia area before Fourth of July celebrations.
Teamsters Local 830 represents a few thousand employees in the beverage industry, from warehouse workers to delivery drivers. The union is striking against the Delaware Valley Importers Distribution Association, an industry group that includes Penn Beer Sales and Service, Origlio Beverage, and Muller Inc.
The dispute between workers and the beverage industry comes down to pay and conditions of work. The work stoppage began Sunday.
“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,” said Teamsters Local 830 Secretary-Treasurer Daniel H. Grace in a statement. “That’s excessive.”
The union would not release specific information about the current pay workers receive, what they are seeking, or what the association had offered them in the proposal that the union has rejected.
“The prices of everything, including their beverage products, have skyrocketed. Inflation has hit our members extremely hard. They deserve to be fairly compensated during these difficult economic times,” Grace said.
In a statement provided Tuesday morning, the association says that it is “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.”
The association added that it has “contingency plans in place to minimize any disruption to our suppliers and the market.”
Muller Inc. has a message on its phone saying that it is not accepting new orders from Philadelphia and nearby Pennsylvania counties and is still figuring out what to do about current ones.