Organizing at Coca-Cola


Coca-Cola workers in Allentown, Pa., became the first new unit of Coke Teamsters in more than a decade.

By a majority vote, production workers at the Coca-Cola manufacturing facility voted to join Local 773 in Allentown. There are 90 employees in the union bargaining unit, all of which work in the syrup production facility, the key ingredient in Coca-Cola beverages.

“After many years of not being heard, the employees of Coca-Cola Lehigh Valley syrup plant finally have a voice,” said Dan Rice, an employee for the past 16 years. “I look forward to this new partnership knowing that when we work together we can accomplish many great things.”

Coca-Cola has, over the years, diversified their inventory of beverages in order to suit current tastes. In addition to Coca-Cola, other sodas such as Sprite, Fanta and Powerade are made at this facility.

“These Coca-Cola employees work hard to keep the production levels high and we are proud to be their union representatives,” said Dennis Hower, President of Local 773.

Workers sought to unionize over wage and work-rule changes. The company had frozen workers’ pay and it looked as if they would remain stagnant for years. The company also took away two paid holidays.

Hower said the union’s experience with the employer helped in organizing and will ensure a good contract for these new Teamsters.

“We already represent other employees of Coca-Cola at an independent bottler of Coca-Cola products, and we have experience negotiating contracts in this industry. We look forward to working on the first collective bargaining agreement here,” Hower said.

“The majority of the workforce here felt that union representation was right for our future,” said Sean Werner, a four-year employee of the plant. “I am proud to say as Teamsters we finally have a voice.”