Despite agreeing to a 10 a.m. start time on Friday, Nov. 20, Coca-Cola representatives finally sat down at the bargaining table after 2 p.m. for what was originally the final day of new contract negotiations.
By the end of the day, Coca-Cola and the Local 727 Bargaining Committee set two additional dates to meet — Monday, Nov. 23 and Monday, Nov. 30. But management’s childish behavior and flimsy verbal commitments on Friday gave the Bargaining Committee little confidence that Coca-Cola might return next Monday with any substantive movement.
“During what little time Local 727 had the chance to actually meet with Coca-Cola today, management only talked about a few topics and put new proposals on the table without any clearly defined language,” said John Coli Jr., President of Local 727. “Negotiations today were a waste of time. Yet again, the union is urging Coca-Cola management to do their jobs and offer real proposals that respect our members.”
For the first time, the company has offered to agree to negotiate one comprehensive contract for production and warehouse Teamsters and transport drivers. Management ultimately admitted they could no longer see any benefit to bargaining an entirely separate agreement for 10 drivers.
Coca-Cola representatives also offered to withdraw their unreasonable proposal to change existing Family Medical Leave Act policies that would have forced workers to use their earned vacation time.
During the afternoon, the remainder of the bargaining session shifted focus to overall work hours, flexible schedules, overtime, seniority and bidding rights.
Rank-and-file members of the Local 727 Bargaining Committee spoke passionately and at-length about the importance of fair schedules, workplace safety and work rules.
“Instead of offering to make schedules worse for workers, Coca-Cola should be paying closer attention to our right to work in safe environments in Niles and Alsip,” said Local 727 member Bob Ritchie.
The Bargaining Committee also stressed the importance of Coca-Cola agreeing to the union’s grievance procedure and emphasized the need for more job security.
Members will be updated as negotiations progress, including any new dates scheduled. Anyone with questions should contact Mike DeGard at (847) 696-7500 or [email protected].