April 18, 2007: Coca-Cola is attacking Teamster jobs in Southern California and stepping on workers’ rights across North America and the globe. Our union is stepping up a campaign of our own—warning the company that strike action is next on the agenda.
You can support the fight for justice at Coke. Sign our union’s online petition to tell Coke to clean up its act.
Teamsters are negotiating contracts covering more than a thousand workers across the country. And contracts covering more than 3,500 Coca-Cola workers will expire this year
Coke has been attacking Teamster members’ healthcare and pensions and threatening to eliminate union jobs. In Southern California, Coca-Cola Enterprises is threatening to go nonunion at its new distribution facility in Oceanside. The company is refusing to let long-time Teamster employees to transfer to the new facility and is forcing them to reapply for their own jobs.
The Teamster Brewery and Soft Drink Conference has talked with local unions about possible coordinated strike action. And on Monday, the IBT warned that Coke may soon provoke a large scale work stoppage.
"By refusing to address workers' most basic concerns about job security and affordable health care, Coke may soon precipitate widespread work stoppages with picket lines extended throughout the U.S.," said David Laughton, the secretary-treasurer of the Teamsters Brewery and Soft Drink Workers Conference, during a conference call on Monday with investors, industry analysts and the media.
The strike threat is an escalation of Teamster pressure which has taken the form of a corporate campaign. The campaign has included leafleting at NCAA basketball games and a rally in Times Square to draw attention to Coke’s labor and human rights abuses.
In India, Coke is accused of contaminating water and farmland in India. In Colombia, Coke has been been linked to death squads who have murdered eight pro-union employees. In the U.S. Coke paid $192 million to settle an employee lawsuit over its widespread racial discrimination.
April 16, 2007: Reuters: Employees of Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., Coca-Cola Co.'s largest bottler, may be forced to stop work if the two companies fail to address worker concerns, a Teamsters Union representative warned on Monday.
The Teamsters Union, which represents more than 14,000 Coke and CCE employees in the United States and Canada, has previously protested against restructuring programs that led to job cuts at a Southern California bottling plant.
"By refusing to address workers' most basic concerns about job security and affordable health care, Coke may soon precipitate widespread work stoppages with picket lines extended throughout the U.S.," said David Laughton, the secretary-treasurer of the Teamsters Brewery and Soft Drink Workers Conference, during a conference call.
Calling Coke "arrogant" in its handling of labor relations, Laughton, a former Coke employee, said worker-related problems were escalating and could threaten U.S. operations.
"Whether it is being slow to adapt to the changing beverage market conditions, maintaining good relations with its bottlers, keeping up with Pepsi's sales, sales growth and earnings, our board of directors and the management team have failed to demonstrate great leadership," Laughton said.
Coke will report earnings on Tuesday and is holding its annual meeting later this week. Its shares were up 0.8 percent, or 39 cents, at $50.26 during morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Shares of CCE, which reports earnings next week, were up 1.78 percent, or 37 cents, at $21.14.