More Than 300 Teamsters Take to Picket Line After Corporation Intimidates Workers, Bargains in Bad Faith
More than 300 Teamsters Local 727 members initiated an unfair labor practice strike against Coca-Cola Refreshments on Dec. 3 after the beverage industry behemoth intimidated workers and engaged in bad faith bargaining during negotiations for a new contract.
Local 727 represents 319 production and warehouse workers and transport drivers at Coca-Cola Refreshments facilities in Niles and Alsip, Ill. The union’s bargaining committee of rank-and-file members and Teamster representatives met 12 times with management since Oct. 28 to try to reach an agreement. During the process, Coca-Cola Refreshments committed numerous unfair labor practices to force the strike, including surface bargaining with no intention of settling the contract, intimidating workers with baseball bats and threatening union members with job loss.
“For weeks on end, Coca-Cola Refreshments has shown no effort to negotiate a fair and equitable agreement with workers and repeatedly delayed or ignored the union’s good faith bargaining,” said John Coli Jr., President of Local 727. “Due to Coca-Cola Refreshments’ harsh and unreasonable actions, our members overwhelmingly authorized the unfair labor practice strike and have taken to the picket line to demand respect from their employer.”
Contract negotiations between Local 727 and the company are expected to continue during the unfair labor practice strike. Coca-Cola Refreshments is a subsidiary of Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO).
Beyond worker intimidation and bad faith bargaining, Local 727 filed unfair labor practices against Coca-Cola Refreshments for soliciting contract proposals directly from workers and refusing to fulfill multiple information requests from the union. The Teamsters currently are collecting additional evidence regarding the company’s actions to submit to the National Labor Relations Board and expect to file other unfair labor practices, including surveillance of employees by Coca-Cola Refreshments management.
The current contract extension for Coca-Cola Teamsters expired on Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Teamsters Local 727 is an affiliate of Teamsters Joint Council 25, America’s premier labor union for Chicago, Illinois and northwest Indiana.