Members Beat Coke in Puerto Rico

June 1, 2010: Teamster solidarity and legal action by TDU take on Coca-Cola and corrupt Teamster officials—and win.

When Local 901 members at Coca- Cola in Puerto Rico went on strike, the company retaliated and so did their own union officers. More than three dozen Teamsters were fired.

Three reform leaders, who did not even work at Coke, were expelled from the union on trumped up charges of organizing an illegal strike.

Now Teamster solidarity and legal action by TDU has beaten Coca-Cola and Teamster officials who sided with the company against the rank and file.

Strikers Win Jobs Back

More than 34 Teamsters in Puerto Rico have won their jobs back after they were illegally fired for striking to defend their union rights at Coca-Cola.

The National Labor Relations Board ruled that Coca-Cola fired the workers for participating in a strike that was “caused by the unfair labor practices of the employer.” The company has been ordered to purge all discipline and pay these Teamsters full back pay.

In a setback, the terminations of four shop stewards at Coke were upheld by the judge. A fifth steward won his job back with full back pay.

The NLRB also ordered Teamsters Local 901 to reinstate the three reform leaders who were tossed out of their union after they supported their striking brothers and sisters at Coke.

NLRB Blasts Officials

The NLRB administrative law judge blasted Local 901 officials for expelling Migdalia Magriz, Mara Quiara, and Silvia Rivera “because they comprised a slate of candidates that opposed the slate favored by Local 901” in the last union election.

Local 901 was ordered to immediately rescind $10,000 fines levied against the reform candidates and to “reinstate them to full membership in the Union including their Shop Steward positions.”

In a related case, the Department of Labor is suing Local 901 officials for rigging the local union election in their favor. The DOL is seeking a supervised rerun election.

The decision is an embarrassment to the Hoffa administration, which refused to issue a stay of effectiveness on the expulsions while they were being appealed. When the NLRB delivers Teamsters more justice than we get from our own union, there’s a problem.

The members in the case are represented by attorneys Linda Backiel of Puerto Rico and TDU legal counsel Barbara Harvey. In a move to delay justice, Coke and Local 901 leaders filed a joint motion to the NLRB asking for more time to file an appeal.

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