Coca-Cola said the strike would not affect productdeliveries as the summer season begins to get underway. The company saidsupervisors were filling in for absent workers.
The unions say they are protesting against Coke's desire tohave workers pay more for their healthcare benefits.
"Instead of investing in the people who work hard everyday to produce, package and distribute Coke products, both Coca-Cola andCoca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) have dug deep into corporate funds to rewardpoor-performing executives on their way out the door," according to astatement by Jack Cipriani, the director of the Teamsters brewery and softdrink workers section.
Teamster drivers, packers and warehouse workers walkedpicket lines at all seven Coca- Cola Enterprises Inc. bottling plants in the Los Angeles area Monday in a dispute over wages and rising health insurance costs.
The action involves about 1,700 of the company's 5,000local employees. Coca-Cola Enterprises, which is about 36 per cent owned byCoca-Cola Co., bottles and distributes about 80 per cent of the Coke sold in theUS.
Last year Summerfield Johnston, a former chief executive ofCCE and the current chairman of the board, received health care coverage for lifefor himself and his children and a consulting contract worth $600,000 a year,the union alleges.
"We want Coke to continue to be one of the moresuccessful soft drinks in America," Cipriani said on the Teamster's Internet site. "Our members don't deserve to be saddledwith increased health care costs while executives at Coke are still doled outexpensive perks. This is the beginning of a long, hot summer."