Teamsters Local 727-represented Home Juice inside and outside beverage workers have overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year contract that includes wage increases, improved retirement benefits and the maintenance of health and welfare benefits.
“This work force has dedicated their careers and put our hearts into this company. It was a lot of work, but these negotiations were a true team effort,” said driver steward Tyrone Lewis, a member of the Local 727 Bargaining Committee. “We appreciate our new union and all the work they’ve done to help us get a better contract than we’ve had in years.”
The Home Juice members — warehouse workers and drivers who distribute a variety of juice products throughout the Chicago area — transferred to Local 727 last year from Teamsters Local 710, which has been in trusteeship since July 2014.
The new contract is a complete merger of the previous inside and outside contracts, creating a single collective bargaining agreement covering all 31 members at the Melrose Park facility in order to strengthen and better unify the bargaining unit.
“Because our members stood together and made their voices heard, we were able to a very strong contract,” said John Coli Jr., President of Local 727. “This union is committed to continuing our fight to raise the working standards across the beverage industry.”
The new contract also includes:
- Annual wage increases for all members
- Participation in the Teamsters National 401(k) retirement plan, with the company contributing $165.24 per month in the first year, $178.46 per month in the second year, and $192.74 per month in the third year on behalf of each member.
- Additionally, the company shall retroactively contribute $153.00 per month per employee to the 401(k) plan for each employee that worked on 11 or more workdays per month for the period of January 1, 2015, to February 29, 2016. (A total of $2,142.00 for all 14 months.)
- Employer-paid required D.O.T. physicals for drivers.
- An employee’s company seniority, in addition to classification seniority, will factor into any reductions in force.
- Restrictions on the company’s use of temporary employees.
- Improved grievance procedure that is more streamlined and efficient to ensure better union representation and quicker resolutions.
- Continuation of health care benefits, with annual employer contribution increases and maintenance of current employee contribution rates.
Following a two-week contract extension and two additional negotiation meetings on March 10 and March 14, Home Juice management presented the Local 727 Bargaining Committee with its last, best and final contract offer. After having time to look over the proposed changes and ask questions, the members overwhelmingly voted to ratify the new agreement on March 31.
The new contract expires Feb. 28, 2019.
Teamsters Local 727 represents nearly 10,000 hardworking men and women throughout the Greater Chicago area, including more than 2,000 beverage industry workers.