The Teamsters Local 727 Bargaining Committee and Pepsi management made progress on key issues during contract negotiations on April 18. Both sides began the day by continuing to work from a newly unified contract that will eventually cover all Teamster Pepsi classifications.
The union and the company reached a tentative agreement regarding just cause protection for discipline in the event an employee is terminated. The crucial language gives Teamsters the ability to defend themselves against unfair or unlawful terminations.
The Bargaining Committee, which includes members and representatives of Teamsters Local 673, addressed other issues throughout the day. Pepsi signaled it is prepared to make movement and remain flexible on provisions that are most important to the Teamster membership.
“Today signified the level of movement we need throughout negotiations with Pepsi to reach a fair contract,” said John T. Coli, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 727. “We have a long way to go and a lot more work that needs to be done, but if bargaining can remain this productive, I’m certain we’re going to reach agreement very soon.”
In addition to just cause for termination, the union and management discussed changing dates and timeframes to ensure Teamster grievances are processed and resolved in a timely manner.
Local 727 made it clear, though, to Pepsi management that the union will not agree to continued or future use of seasonal labor. Full-time Teamster members are available to do the work and deserve the overtime, Coli told the company’s representatives.
Management, however, signaled that Pepsi is willing to find common ground on:
– Six-month bidding rights on vacancies;
– Weekly pay for all workers and job sites;
– One universal drug and alcohol policy for all workers at all facilities;
– Absence policy for three days instead of two for all facilities; and
– Further clarification for union security, rest periods, overtime and drivers’ phones.
A subcommittee of Bargaining Committee members, union representatives and Pepsi management met long into the night on Monday to continue working on proposed language for a unified contract. The subcommittee is working to clean up language as both sides move toward merging four existing contracts into one.