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CT beer drivers go back to work.

CT beer drivers go back to work

Teamsters union drivers and warehouse workers for Hartford-area beer distributors voted last week to go back to work without a contract, ending a labor dispute that threatened to leave the city short of beer during the Memorial Day weekend.

Unofficially, the back-to-work vote was 163-30, a margin of better than 5-to-1. Members of Teamsters Local 1035, who rejected a similar back-to-work plan a week ago, returned to work without a new contract and submitted unresolved issues over wages, benefits and working conditions to binding arbitration.

The vote came 15 days into the dispute and just one day after the five distributors that control the region's beer market began advertising for replacement workers.

The distributors are located in Manchester, South Windsor, East Hartford, Hartford and Bristol.

Walter Chambers, secretary-treasurer for Local 1035, said the new proposal protects workers against layoffs in the event that the company wins a dispute over how many cases of beer can be loaded onto each truck.

The distributors want to increase the maximum load from 325 to 400, but union officials fear that would reduce the number of trucks on the road, and cut drivers' jobs.

Local 1035 has been working without a contract since the previous three-year agreement expired April 30. The union had agreed to work under the terms of the previous contract until a new agreement could be reached, but negotiations reached a standstill, and the distributors suspended operations May 7, effectively locking out the union.

Company officials said they suspended operations to prevent the union from striking before or during the Memorial Day weekend. The five distributors, which combine to negotiate one contract with the union, are the lone source of beer for Hartford and Tolland counties and part of Middlesex County.
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Title Annotation:Connecticut
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Jun 4, 1990
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