Coca-Cola Gives Union Partially Regressive Offer, Stands Still on Wages, Kills Retroactivity — Then Asks Members to Vote
Coca-Cola Refreshments waited more than eight hours during the second day of mediation before handing the Teamsters a partially regressive economic package.
Management refused to call the proposal a “last, best and final offer,” but asked the union to bring it to the membership for a vote. It was the only offer presented by Coca-Cola on Tuesday. No further dates for mediation are currently scheduled.
“Coca-Cola representatives keep telling us their proposals are fair, but I don’t think they know what that word means,” said John Coli Jr., President of Local 727. “Their last offer on Tuesday stood still on paltry wage increases, higher health insurance costs and trashed retroactivity for our members. Coca-Cola continues to send the message that it’s not interested in bargaining reasonably.”
Coca-Cola’s proposed wage increases for a five-year contract would be 50 cents each year. Considering the loss members would suffer from higher out-of-pocket health care costs, the pay raises would only amount to between 1 and 1.5 percent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage increase for all workers in the Chicago area was 3.3 percent in 2015.
For single employees — which represents more than half of workers in the plan — Coca-Cola offered to raise health care costs by 37 percent between just the first two years of a new contract. For the same timeframe, insurance costs would increase nearly 18 percent for employees-plus-one and 10 percent for member families.
By Coca-Cola’s own admission on Tuesday, the company’s actuaries estimated only a 10 percent health care increase would be necessary for all employees.
The Bargaining Committee will meet to further discuss the offer after the union’s general membership meeting December 20.
Before Local 727 can possibly present the proposal to the members for a vote, the company must give the union a full written contract offer. The only proposal management has currently distributed is a few pages on wages and benefits. Local 727 made it clear during the past eight weeks that it cannot and will not recommend a partial proposal to members for a vote. The union is awaiting response from Coca-Cola.
The unfair labor practice strike is continuing. As the union schedules dates to bargain or a date to vote the last proposal, members will be updated immediately.