727 Demands Bargaining Over Great Lakes Coca-Cola’s Unjust Wellness Policy

| June 18, 2020

After taking away hazard pay weeks before the state even considered removing the stay-at-home order and having more confirmed COVID-19 cases than any other employer with members represented by Teamsters Local 727, Great Lakes Coca-Cola contacted the Union to talk about new safety measures. Currently, the Company allegedly requires all employees to social distant, frequently hand wash, and wear masks. However, the Company plans to roll out a new coronavirus “wellness screening” complete with temperature checks.

When the Union was first informed about the wellness screenings, it agreed that it was a good idea—in theory. Not only does the state’s minimum guidelines require a wellness screening for phase 3, which began on June 1, but such screenings have shown a decrease in confirmed cases in workplaces. For example, Keurig Dr Pepper has had employees perform a wellness screening before reporting to work every day for months and has had far fewer confirmed cases than Great Lakes Coca Cola has had, despite having more people reporting to a single building. Teamsters Local 727 quickly followed up with an information request that included confirmation that no members would be disciplined and that, per the law, all members would be paid for any work done off the clock, including the wellness screening.

Unfortunately, never one to miss an opportunity to turn a good thing into a chance to discipline, Great Lakes Coca Cola responded with the unilateral policy they planned to give members that states that, “Employees who refuse to comply with the terms of this Policy will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment.” Teamsters Local 727 quickly reminded GLCC that they must bargain with the Union over this policy and cannot unilaterally implement the policy. The corporate bully has yet to respond if they will follow the law and pay employees for the wellness screening if performed off the clock.

“Great Lakes Coca-Cola never misses an opportunity to punish when they could reward. Not only are they late in meeting the state and city’s clear minimum guidelines, but management plans on using screenings as another tool to harm members, instead of protecting them. Teamsters Local 727 represents over 10,000 members in the Chicagoland area, yet GLCC is the only one we have these sort of egregious problems with.” said John Coli, Jr, Teamsters Local 727 Secretary-Treasurer. “It’s also telling that the Company finds it necessary to have members perform a COVID-19 wellness screening every day, but they do not believe our frontline, essential members deserve some sort of hazard pay. It’s bad management from a bad employer—Great Lakes Coca Cola never misses a chance to try to screw over their employees, but like always, we will be there to fight them every inch of the way.

According to Company representative Marty Slevin, the Company is planning on introducing the new policy on Monday, June 22nd. The Union will keep the bargaining unit informed as the Company responds to the request for information and demand to bargain.

Members with questions should contact Caleen Carter-Patton at 847-696-7500.
Nothing in this article should be read as the union’s waiver of any legal argument, position or grievance(s), or as a waiver of any rights, arguments, or defenses under any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or applicable law. The union does not forfeit its right to make any and all supplemental arguments.


Category: BEVERAGE

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