Local 812 in New York has picked up a new account delivering Glaceau products, a subsidiary of Coke, which were previously delivered by Big Geyser. Glaceau’s Vitaminwater had comprised more than half of Queens-based Big Geyser’s volume but now Coke will deliver Glaceau products using their existing unionized workforce from Local 812.
Last year, Big Geyser workers sought union representation and the company responded with a vicious anti-union campaign.
“They hired armed guards, threatened and fired workers,” said Joe Vitta, Local 812 Secretary-Treasurer. “Big Geyser workers earn far less and receive terrible benefits compared to Local 812 members. The company did everything in their power to stop worker efforts to form a union.”
“How can you support a company that pays poverty wages and tramples the rights of workers,” said Ed Webber, Local 812 President. “We will maintain pressure to ensure that low-road employers do not succeed in the New York beverage market.”
The switch for Glaceau products to Teamster distribution is not the first for Coke in New York. Several years ago, Coke closed the nonunion Eastern Container’s plastic blow mold machines facility and moved operations into a Local 812-represented facility in Elmsford, New York. Coke provides its union workers with full medical benefits, pensions and top industry pay.
“I see a bright future with Coke,” said Local 812 Vice President John Ulrich. “They have a plan and want Teamsters Local 812 to be part of it. These Glaceau products being moved onto our trucks will effectively add hundreds of new union jobs with a good company. That is the sign of a true partnership and this is a defining moment in our longstanding relationship with Coke.”
Teamsters Local 812 represents nearly 2,000 Coke drivers, warehouse, and merchandise workers in the New York Metropolitan Area.