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New Coke Teamsters in Oklahoma

Workers Unify in the Face of Union Busters

Justin Snow was born and raised in Oklahoma and has worked for Coca-Cola for the last four years. In his time with Coke, Snow said things gradually became unbearable.

In late December, Snow and his co-workers took an important step to making their jobs better: They voted overwhelmingly to join Local 523 of the Teamsters Union.

“Management was firing people, changing schedules…something had to be done,” Snow said. “I had always heard the Teamsters was a good outfit. I know some ABF guys who really speak highly of the Teamsters Union.”

Snow was instrumental in keeping his co-workers unified while the company fought the unionization effort.

The warehouse that was organized is in Okmulgee, Okla. Gary Ketchum, President of Local 523 in Tulsa, said other unions had tried to organize the bargaining unit in the past but were unsuccessful.

“I wanted to take a shot at it because these workers needed a union,” Ketchum said. “What resonated with me during this campaign was how much they truly just wanted a voice on the job. They know they’re underpaid compared to other drivers in the company and their benefit package isn’t what it should be. They weren’t being treated fairly.”

The local is in the process of setting dates for negotiations. 

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