On Monday, July 24 at 3:00 a.m., 42 Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Account Managers who work at the Vernon, Calif. facility went on strike to protest the company’s violations of federal labor law. These workers, members of Teamsters Local 848, have been fighting for their first contract for over a year. They decided to organize with the Teamsters after the company started increasing their workload without increasing their pay.
Once the picket line was established, the 450 other Teamsters in Vernon began refusing to work in honor of the account managers’ strike. Local 848 extended picket lines to San Fernando almost immediately, where members also refused to cross.
Over the next 24 hours, Local 848 extended picket lines to Orange, Riverside and San Diego, where Teamsters honored the line and refused to work. During the 36-hour period of the strike, about 900 Teamsters – members of Teamsters Local 63, 495, 542, 683, 848, 896 and 952 – refused to work in honor of the picket line established by their brothers and sisters in the Vernon sales group.
“All the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Teamsters in Southern California stepped up in a big way,” said Randy Cammack, President of Teamsters Joint Council 42. “We demonstrated that we’re united against this company’s attacks.”
“This was a 36-hour warning and demonstration of solidarity, but our fight continues,” said Eric Tate, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 848. “We hope the company comes to its senses. If not, we’re ready to escalate our fight.”
“We’ll have over 1,000 Teamsters at Dr. Pepper Snapple facilities throughout California with an ability to strike here in a couple of months,” said Phil Cooper, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 896 and Chair of the Southern California Teamsters Brewery and Soft Drink Conference. “We also have open contracts in Riverside and Sacramento. Our contract covering the rest of the employees in Vernon, as well as San Fernando and Orange, expires in September. This company better wake up or it’s going to see more actions like this in the near future.”
“We’ve been fighting for fair pay, retirement security and a voice on the job — what our brothers and sisters in other Dr. Pepper Snapple locations have. That’s why we organized,” said William Corona, an account manager and member of the union negotiating committee. “The company’s reaction was to retaliate and violate our rights under federal law. We went out on strike to show we won’t be intimidated by the company’s unlawful actions. The support we’ve gotten from everyone has helped give us the strength we need to continue our fight until we win.”