Great Lakes Coca-Cola’s Lies & Unsafe Working Conditions Continue

| May 21, 2020

Yesterday, after concerns from Teamsters Local 727 members continued to go unaddressed by the Company, a member called WGNTV Channel 9 who visited the GLCC facility. Recently, in the Alsip production facility, three members have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last week alone. Several other members have been placed in quarantine. According to reports from the members working at the facility, there are other employees who had close contact with infected members who management refuses to quarantine—likely because it could require shutdown of an entire department. When Union stewards raised this concern to the Company and suggested that the Company close for sanitation and self-quarantine, a member of management claimed there was no point in closing as the employees “would get infected getting a beer with their buddies.”

Teamsters Local 727 has sent countless information requests to Great Lakes Coca-Cola about their health and safety policies during the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, when it didn’t seem like the company was taking their frontline, essential employee’s health seriously, Union representatives filed a OSHA complaint. Recently, Teamsters Local 727 informed the Company of measures other companies in the industry were using (including taking temperatures and having employees complete health screenings before work). The Company ignored the Union’s demands and has failed to implement any additional safety measures. Instead, the Company simply said “we can’t do that.” However, as Great Lakes Coca-Cola continues to grow and profit, it is clear that this is not a matter of can’t—they simply won’t spend the money necessary to protect the very employees who generate their profits. This is not surprising given that they unlawfully laid off close to 50 members and have yet to show a business need to do so.

“It’s clear that GLCC is not going to take action unless the CDC or government requires it to protect our Union brothers and sisters. The Company has had double the amount of positive cases in their facilities than their competitors at Pepsi or Keurig Dr Pepper. However, when we’ve raised this to the Company, they’ve showed their true colors—they blame our members for not practicing social distancing. Every time I think we can’t be more disgusted by Great Lakes Coca Cola, they manage to prove me wrong,” said John Coli Jr, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 727. “I am proud of our Teamsters brother who alerted the news to the COVID cases in Alsip, but it’s a shame the Company was able to have their spokesperson spin it. There have been more than three (3) confirmed cases in Alsip, but we shouldn’t be surprised that the Company lied once again.”

Teamsters Local 727 has outstanding unfair labor practice charges and dozens of grievances filed against Great Lakes Coca-Cola. The Union has, and will continue to, contact OSHA and other government officials to force bad actors like GLCC to protect and pay their frontline, essential workers.

The WGN story referenced herein can be found here.

Members with questions should contact Business Representative 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, Union News

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