Teamsters Local 727 stewards and representatives discussed company policies with Pepsi management during the first Employee Relations Committee (ERC) meeting on Aug. 18.
The ERC, which was established in the new four-year Pepsi contract, will meet quarterly to discuss issues of concern to the union and the company. During recent contract negotiations, the Teamsters Local 727 Bargaining Committee and Pepsi management agreed that the ERC would meet within 45 days after contract ratification to review and discuss all Pepsi company policies.
“Now that the ball is rolling on this new committee, we can keep it going throughout the year to address problems as they come up,” said John Coli Jr., President of Local 727.
At the Aug. 18 meeting, union stewards, union representatives and Pepsi representatives carefully reviewed the company’s drug and alcohol policy, which features a host of improvements and protections negotiated by the Local 727 Bargaining Committee.
“We devoted a huge chunk of time during negotiations to Pepsi’s drug and alcohol policy, and we were able to secure a more fair procedure for our members across the board,” Coli said.
Improvements to the company’s drug and alcohol policy — which is part of the new contract booklets the union recently mailed to all Pepsi members — include the following:
- Creation of one consistent policy across all four Pepsi locations
- Two trained supervisors (if at all possible) must be present when a test is administered
- A steward or union representative can be present during testing
- Employees with a positive random drug test will get a second chance with rehabilitation
- More stringent requirements to trigger post-accident testing
- No testing post-injury if not considered an accident
- Any drug and alcohol testing dispute is covered by the grievance procedure
- Split sampling
- Employees’ personal vehicles not subject to searches
- Limits on use of police testing
- Separate testing standards for DOT vs. non-DOT employees
- Employer will cover cost of transportation to testing facility
The ERC on Aug. 18 also reviewed the company’s attendance policy, and more specifically, issues with the current no call/no show policy. Management said they want to continue the conversation and talk about the culture at Pepsi surrounding attendance at future ERC meetings.
“We have to keep these conversations going; that’s the only way that we can affect change and make our voices heard,” Coli said. “This is only the beginning. There is plenty of work to be done.”
Union representatives are working with Pepsi management to schedule the next ERC meeting in the next 4-6 weeks.
Teamsters Local 727 represents more than 600 workers at four Pepsi facilities in Chicago, Elk Grove Village and Kankakee.