Ken Hall, President of Teamsters Local 175 joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss ongoing contract negotiations at Coca-Cola Consolidated Inc. Teamsters Local 175 is home to 3,400 active members, with approximately 200 members working at Coca-Cola Consolidated. The 3,400 active members are spread out across West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia.
Working on an expired contract, Local 175 members had built up a list of grievances against their employer. After many attempts to discuss these grievances and come to an agreement, Coca-Cola Consolidated chose not to respond. Despite some initial hesitation from members concerned about the customers well-being, members of Local 175 began a two-day strike to have their grievances acknowledged by the employer. However, after two days members voted to pause their strike as the smaller customers were not being served by the employer, and unfortunately the employer continued ignoring the grievances.
Coca-Cola Consolidated and Teamsters Local 175 have since met at the negotiating table, but no progress has been made, as Coca-Cola Consolidated has been making poor offers for wages and benefits. It’s nothing new to Hall. During the previous three contract negotiations, the employer also gave unreasonable final offers. After being rejected, they altered their offers to fit the workers needs right before the expiration of the previous contract.
Due to the issues with negotiating with Coca-Cola Consolidated, not just for Teamsters Local 175 but at their locations in Ohio with fellow Teamsters members, a long-term strike could be upcoming, Hall said. This would be the first long-term strike in 23 years, when Local 175 walked out over low wages and poor working conditions at the same distribution facility. This isn’t an industry wide issue, as the other beverage distribution contracts held by Local 175 ensure members are taken care of, he said. Hall added that the members are ready to go on strike if that is what it takes to get their employer to recognize their grievances.
Listen to the entire episode to learn more.
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