Coca-Cola Members Fight Back Company Scheme


Local 14 in Las Vegas recently fought back a company-led smear campaign and ultimately won new strength for their Coca-Cola members.

The Las Vegas Coca-Cola facility, the largest distribution center for Coca-Cola products in the state, has been a Teamster shop for many years. All of the more than 100 warehousemen, mechanics and drivers are members of Local 14.

So it was a surprise when, after so many years of strong representation, managers at this Coca-Cola facility decided to go after the rank-and-file workers. Their plan: Rile up employees with the promise of overtime work, but blame the union for not allowing it to be implemented. The company even offered an employee a job in another department in exchange for that employee filing a complaint and decertification claim.

Unfortunately one employee did take the company up on their offer. Soon after this, the company mounted a very aggressive anti-union campaign. They pulled out all the stops by having one-on-one meetings with employees and bringing in corporate-paid union busters.

“Once this company scheme got started, we immediately filed unfair labor practice charges against Coca-Cola,” said Al Ghilarducci, President of the local. “It was apparent that this whole plan was company led and not a result of rank-and-file dissatisfaction with the union.”

An election was held soon after the management scheme was in play and the vote to keep the union was a landslide.

“The company threw everything they had at us,” said Dennis Kszternak, a Coca-Cola employee and Teamster member for 34 years. “Our business agents were at the plant for every shift and showed us the commitment of Local 14. Each and every one of us stuck together through this trying time. We are proud to be called Teamsters.”