MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) The strike at Coca-Cola locations on the Gulf Coast continues one week later. More than 200 employees at the Coca-Cola locations in Mobile, Robertsdale, Leroy, and Ocean Springs have been on strike since August 9.
They are striking over wages and benefits. Union leaders say when the four local locations were bought by Coca-Cola UNITED, employees were asked to lower their wages and increase their contributions to insurance.
Negotiations have been ongoing throughout the strike, but the two parties have not been able to come to an agreement.
Teamsters Local 991 Business Manager Jim Gookins released the following statement:
“The Union has received the Company’s counterproposal via the Mediator. We believe it continues to demand concessions from the Union regarding the new employees and have made no movement. They have removed the wage increases for the current employees and substituted annual bonus, while still increasing the cost of their healthcare. This offer is less than the previous proposal and is regressive. The Union doesn’t believe the Company is serious about getting a new contract for its employees. They continue to bargain in bad faith in an effort to break the will of the employees and break the Union. They now want to pay less than the new Walmart and Amazon Distribution Centers to produce and distribute their products. They talk about spending $2 million to improve the facilities. It is obvious to the Union that they want their employees to pay for it. We apologize to the general public for any inconvenience the strike has caused but the members are taking a stand to protect their jobs and fight against Coke United’s corporate greed.”
When News 5 spoke with a Coca-Cola UNTIED representative on August 9, she said the company would continue to negotiate but was busing in employees from other areas in the meantime to not stop the flow of business.
Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED today issued the following updated statement regarding the bargaining negotiations with Teamsters Local 991:
“We are very disappointed that we have not yet been able to come to an agreement with Teamsters 991. However, Coca-Cola UNITED continues to negotiate in good faith through the mediator, as opposed to negotiating through the media. Coca-Cola UNITED has presented numerous proposals to the union, including offers that increase associate wages over the term of their contract, as well as providing attractive benefits and retiree medical. We will continue to negotiate in good faith for the long-term benefit of our associates and our company; however, at the same time we are continuing our operations to assure we provide the highest levels of product delivery and service to our customers and communities.”