In Contract Fight, Hundreds of Chicago Coke Workers Vote 10-to-1 to Strike
(CHICAGO) - More than 225 Coca-Cola Refreshments workers represented by Teamsters Local 727 voted Sun., Nov. 29, to authorize an unfair labor practice strike against the beverage industry behemoth.
The Teamsters voted by a 10-to-1 margin to authorize the strike after Local 727 filed numerous unfair labor practice charges against the company in a fight for a new contract. Management for Coca-Cola Refreshments, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO), has bargained in bad faith, intimidated workers with baseball bats and threatened unionized employees with job loss in an effort to delay contract negotiations for months.
Local 727 represents 319 production and warehouse workers and transport drivers at Coca-Cola Refreshments facilities in Niles and Alsip, Ill.
“Coca-Cola Refreshments has committed one egregious unfair labor practice after another to try to derail contract negotiations,” said John Coli Jr., President of 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.”
Local 727’s unfair labor practice charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board against Coca-Cola Refreshments include:
• Intimidating employees in the workplace with baseball bats;
• 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.
Final negotiations between the Teamsters Bargaining Committee and Coca-Cola Refreshments are scheduled Nov. 30-Dec. 1. With the current contract set to expire tomorrow, Local 727 members may take to the picket line to begin an unfair labor practice strike as early as 12:01 a.m., Wed., Dec. 2.
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 hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.