Coca-Cola Refreshments to ‘bargain in good faith’ following workers’ strike for unfair labor practices

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Picture credit: Teamsters Local 727
Picture credit: Teamsters Local 727
Coca-Cola Refreshments, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola, has spoken out after more than 225 employees voted to go on strike following what it claims are unfair labour practices.

The workers, represented by Teamsters Local 727 voted on November 29, by a 10-to-1 margin to authorize the strike today after it filed charges against the company in a fight for a new contract.

New contract expired December 1

Local 727 represents 319 production and warehouse workers and transport drivers at Coca-Cola Refreshments facilities in Niles and Alsip, Illinois, US.

The union and the company have met for nine bargaining sessions since October to try to come to terms on a new contract, which expired on December 1.

Coca-Cola Refreshments has committed one egregious unfair labor practice after another to try to derail contract negotiations​,” claims John Coli Jr., president, Local 727.

The Teamsters won’t be intimidated. Our union has a proven record of standing up to corporate bullies to protect working families. By authorizing an unfair labor practice strike, our members have sent a unified message to Coca-Cola Refreshments that they will not be taken advantage of​.”

In its defense, a spokesperson for Coca-Cola Refreshments said Teamsters Local 727’s 'choice of tactics is unfortunate'.

'We will vigorously defend against these unsubstantiated allegations'

While we will vigorously defend against these unsubstantiated allegations, our primary focus remains on bargaining in good faith with Teamsters Local 727 to reach an equitable deal for our employees and their members​,” the company told BeverageDaily.

Local 727’s unfair labor practice charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board against Coca-Cola Refreshments allegedly include:

•    Threatening employees with job loss for engaging with the union;
•    Engaging in bad faith bargaining during negotiations;
•    Surface bargaining with no intention of reaching a new agreement, including Coca-Cola Refreshments’ use of delay tactics and insistence on unreasonable proposals;
•    Soliciting contract proposals directly from Coca-Cola Refreshments workers;
•    Unilaterally changing the terms and conditions of the current collective bargaining agreement still in effect;
•    Refusing to fulfill multiple information requests from the union.

Teamsters Local 727 is an affiliate of Teamsters Joint Council 25, America’s premier labor union for Chicago, Illinois and northwest Indiana.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million men and women throughout the US, Canada and Puerto Rico.

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