Strike Success for Coca-Cola Teamsters


Coca-Cola Teamsters with Local 727 voted by a 17-to-1 margin on January 10 to ratify a new three-year contract with Coca-Cola Refreshments in Niles and Alsip, Ill.

The agreement provides annual wage increases, retroactivity and improved health and welfare benefits for 319 Coca-Cola production and warehouse workers and transport drivers.

“From the very beginning, the hardworking men and women at Coca-Cola Refreshments wanted their voices heard, and by standing together they’ve achieved a strong contract that respects the work that they do,” said John T. Coli, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 727. “The union applauds each and every one of our members for staying unified and showing us all what can be accomplished through fair and responsible collective bargaining.”

Local 727 secured the agreement after members nearly unanimously authorized an unfair labor practice strike against Coca-Cola Refreshments and took to the picket line for 27 days late last year.

The union continued to work toward a new contract during the unfair labor practice strike through traditional bargaining and federal mediation. Both sides reached a tentative agreement on Dec. 29.

The new agreement transfers Local 727 members into a new health and welfare plan previously available to Coca-Cola management. The health care improvements translate to significant out-of-pocket cost savings for workers, who will receive annual wage increases and employer-matched 401(k) retirement benefit contributions. Raises in the first year are retroactive to May 1.

Coca-Cola Teamsters voted 170-10 to approve the agreement, which expires April 30, 2018.

Members Strike

Local 727 members initiated the unfair labor practice strike on Dec. 3.

“As employees, we represent Coca-Cola on the frontlines, but how are we supposed to take pride in our work when we feel so disrespected by the company?” said Local 727 member James Drayton.

“Coca-Cola says it wants the best from workers, but the company won’t put forth the best when it comes to treatment of its own employees,” added member James Shears, who’s worked for Coca-Cola for nearly 50 years.

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

Member solidarity before and during the strike was key to winning a good contract.

“These hardworking men and women walked the picket line for 27 days fighting for respect and a fair contract from their employer, and they’ve achieved both,” Coli said. “Our members should be extremely proud of themselves for taking a stand to change the culture at Coca-Cola.”