Coke Strike Spreads in Southern California

July 3, 2008: On Wednesday, over 600 drivers and warehouse Teamsters in San Diego went out on strike against Coca Cola Enterprises (CCE) to support Coke strikers in Oceanside, Calif.

The Oceanside Teamsters, new members of Local 683, walked off the job on Monday for a first contract that matches the pay, benefits, and standards of other Coke Teamsters in Southern California.

Coke opened the new distribution facility in Oceanside last year, and tried to keep it nonunion. Coke Teamsters in San Diego were laid off while the company boosted production in Oceanside.

Employees at Oceanside make $12 an hour compared to $19 and even more in other Teamster facilities.

Last August, Oceanside workers voted overwhelmingly to join the Teamsters—and have been trying to negotiate a fair contract ever since.

Under Coke's offer, Teamsters in Oceanside would take home less than other SoCal Coke Teamsters, earn less in benefits, and would not be guaranteed 40 hours work each week. They would not get up to $19 an hour for five years.

Local 683 recommended the contract. But members rejected the deal by a vote of 54 to 2.

The Joint Council and International Union sanctioned strike action—and picket lines are being extended. Plans are in the works to extend the picket lines to Cathedral City, Orange County, Rancho Cucamonga, Downey, and Los Angeles.

Local 683 is announcing a boycott of Coca-Cola products today to hit Coke's sales and public image right before the July 4th weekend.

Coke workers in Oceanside set this in motion by standing up and voting Coke's offer down. The power of Teamster solidarity can finish the job.

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