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Online Beer Delivery: Beer delivery strike reflects our time
For Brian Garrone of Long Beach, selling and delivering beer for Clare Rose wasn’t an easy job. He’d arrive at 6 a.m., often loading his truck with more than 600 cases. He’d make about 15 stops, often working 12 or 13 hours a day. But after a decade, with good pay and good benefits, Garrone, 37, was sticking with it.
In the past, the week leading up to the Fourth of July was grueling, as Garrone handled more than 4,000 cases. But this year, he’s on strike, primarily concerned that Clare Rose wants to stop contributing to his pension and move to a 401(k) retirement plan. “My whole thing is, if you work hard at something your whole life, you should be able to retire. And that is something this company is trying to take away,” Garrone said outside Clare Rose’s Melville offices, where he and others are walking a picket line
Here’s the thing. Clare Rose chief executive Sean Rose doesn’t disagree with Garrone. Of course, his employees should be able to retire with security, he says. But he thinks the pension plan isn’t viable, that it won’t sustain itself, and that the company can’t keep going with what he calls an “unknown liability.”
Clare Rose, which distributes about 10 million cases of beer annually across Long Island, isn’t alone. Only about 20 percent of Fortune 500 companies offer traditional pension plans to new employees nowadays, with the vast majority moving to 401(k)s. But union officials representing more than 100 Clare Rose drivers and warehouse workers say the pension is doing well. It’s nonnegotiable, they say.
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