Teamsters Local 727 members at Coca-Cola Refreshments and Reyes/Great Lakes Coca-Cola Distribution wore their unity loud and proud on Tuesday, November 17, as negotiations continued for new contracts with both companies.
Hundreds of members sported red Teamster T-shirts as they started their shifts in beverage production and warehouse facilities in Chicago, Niles and Alsip, Ill. Local 727 also brought food and refreshments to members in Niles and Alsip, rallying together in support of new agreements with Teamsters and representatives from local union affiliates of Teamsters Joint Council 25.
“With members working today in bright red union apparel, we send an undeniable message to employers that the Teamsters are strong, we’re unified and we don’t back down,” said John Coli, Jr., President of Local 727. “Local 727 appreciates the support of our brothers and sisters across Illinois for standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our members in the beverage industry. Together we can secure fair contracts that honor the labor our members deliver day in and day out.”
Local 727 is negotiating a new contract for more than 300 members with Coca-Cola Refreshments, while bargaining a new contact for more than 600 members with Reyes/GLCCD. Reyes negotiations were underway as workers rallied at their respective worksites. Union representatives have made significant movement with the company to reach tentative agreement on nearly all non-economic issues. The Local 727 Bargaining Committee presented its proposal for economics, including wages and benefits, on Tuesday as well.
With bargaining to resume with Coca-Cola on Wednesday, Local 727 is committed to reaching a deal that preserves workplace protections and expands members’ rights. The Local 727 Coca-Cola Bargaining Committee is proposing stronger seniority and bidding rights, an improved grievance procedure, new safety measures during disciplinary investigations, time-and-a-half after 40 hours, double-time for holidays and Sundays, sick time and expanded medical and leave.
Despite Local 727’s continued efforts to bargain in good faith, Coca-Cola has repeatedly presented regressive proposals. Among other proposed reductions in workers’ rights and advantages, Coca-Cola management wants to erase workweek standards. In proposals distributed in October, the company made clear it wants to entirely eliminate 40-hour weekly guarantees.
The Bargaining Committee is still awaiting response from Coca-Cola on several outstanding information requests, which have been submitted repeatedly by the union. Furthermore, Coca-Cola has not yet offered its own economics proposal to the union.
“Coca-Cola’s backpedaling proposals are right there in black and white. But our Bargaining Committee isn’t interested in going backwards. Our sights are set on the future and a strong contract that improves the lives of workers and their families,” Coli said.
Local 727 will continue bargaining with Reyes on Thursday, November 19 and with Coca-Cola on November 18 and 20.
Teamsters Local 727 is an affiliate of Teamsters Joint Council 25, America’s premier labor union for Chicago, Illinois and northwest Indiana.