Business

Coca-Cola Begins The Week With Strikes And Federal Mediation

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Two Illinois Coca-Cola facilities will face federal mediation and striking workers Monday after labor agreement negotiations with the Teamsters failed.

The Teamsters agreed to federal mediation last week after the soft drink giant suggested it. The two sides have struggled to arrive at a new labor agreement. The union Nov. 29 even authorized a strike over allegations the company violated worker protection laws. Striking began Dec. 3 with the union also initiating a rally this week to coincide with the federal mediation.

“We were glad to hear from the union that they have agreed to our invitation to sit down with a federal mediator,” a company representative tells The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We are hopeful for a productive meeting on Monday.”

Local 727 of the union represents 300 warehouse, production and transport workers at the locations. The allegations against the company are first detailed Nov. 24 in numerous federal complaints. The union alleges the company bargained in bad faith, intimidated workers and unilaterally changed contract terms and working conditions. The company denies the accusations.

“Our continuing goal is to find an equitable solution for their members,” the company representative continues. “We are still unsure why they chose to leave the table and a proposal that included wage increases, increased contributions for retirement benefits and additional healthcare choices.”

The union also wrote Nov. 5 the company has on numerous occasions cut meetings short, delaying the ability to address a long list of lingering issues. The company and union still need to agree on how to handle shift preferences, adjustments to the grievance procedure, mechanics testing, scheduling and employees being guaranteed 40-hour workweeks.

“It is disappointing they have chosen negative, false rhetoric and tactics instead of negotiating to reach an agreement for their members and their families,” the representative concludes.

The last contract expired Dec. 1 at midnight. Coca-Cola is based in Atlanta with facilities all across the country. Local 727 did not respond to a request for comment by TheDCNF.

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