KDP Takes One Step Forward, 2 Steps Back

| February 25, 2022

The Teamsters Local 727 bargaining committee met with Keurig Dr Pepper (“KDP”) on February 22nd to continue negotiations for a successor contract for the Inside unit. Although it was the seventh meeting between the parties, the company made little to no movement and continued to waste time. To date, the parties have only three tentative agreements – one of which is memorializing a practice that had been in place for decades until new local management came in and destroyed any goodwill that was left.

Recently, the parties were able to agree to a memorandum of understanding that moves the new sales unit into the Outside agreement with the drivers. While this is a big victory, KDP is so scared of their employees and the potential of a strike, it demanded that the MOU provide that if there is a work stoppage of any length that KDP can renege on that specific agreement and bargain sales separately. However, the Union demanded, and secured, language requiring that KDP must honor all tentative agreements reached for the sales unit on all topics. Unfortunately, since then, KDP has made virtually no movement in negotiations.

While KDP finally agreed to cover our units under the Teamsters Local 727 Health and Welfare plan without cost-sharing, it is still hundreds of dollars away from the monthly contribution rate required for participation. Further, the company continues to insist on a 12-hour day proposal without any safeguards or protections for our members. And, adding insult to injury, no changes have been made in the production warehouse, sales warehouse, or for the drivers or salesmen. While KDP continues to thank members for putting up with the mistreatment and poor management they are forced to endure every day, KDP has made zero attempt to make things better.“It’s always one step forward, two steps back with Keurig Dr Pepper,” said John Coli, Jr., Teamsters Local 727 Secretary-Treasurer. “They say they want to reach an agreement, but so often their actions say the exact opposite. We came to an agreement that showed a path forward for our sales members, and the company turned around and unlawfully installed new cameras and security guards the very day the Inside agreement expired. While KDP made a promise in writing to make members whole for the alleged Kronos payroll issues, our salesmen continue to go weeks without pay because deliveries aren’t being made. And for each issue the Union raises, KDP points a finger at another classification of members. It’s time for KDP to take a hard, long look in the mirror. The problem is bad management and KDP’s unwillingness to listen to the very people that produce the work that makes the money – their frontline, essential Teamsters workers,” Coli continued.

Throughout negotiations, KDP’s bargaining committee has contended that the total economic package the Union has proposed is too expensive. And that somehow, paying members fair wage increases, giving more paid time off as members are working more than ever before, and providing good health insurance at no cost to their employees is untenable. At the same time, KDP has refused to respond to the Union’s request for information about the wages KDP is paying their unlawfully hired temporary drivers unless the Union agrees to sign an absurd confidentiality agreement.“How much must Keurig Dr Pepper be paying their temporary drivers (or the scab company they got them from) that they won’t tell us unless we sign a confidentiality agreement? My guess is the cost of the temp agency is more than enough to make up the difference in healthcare,” said John Coli, Jr. “At the end of the day, Keurig Dr Pepper has more than enough money to provide every Teamsters Local 727 member with excellent health insurance, a fair wage increase, and another sick day or two. They just don’t want to.”

“Our members aren’t asking to be millionaires or even make the same money as the lousy managers they have to answer to do. After working more than 300 days in the past year during a pandemic, they’re asking for health insurance that doesn’t eat up their entire paycheck if their kid gets sick. They’re asking to make enough money to take a vacation every year. They’re asking for a tiny piece of the unprecedented profit they have made KDP in the last couple years. If the company can’t come to the table and treat their employees with the same dignity and respect they expect for themselves and bargain in good faith, then we will not reach an agreement. We made clear from day one that the company shouldn’t ask for concessions. Both our Union representatives and members have said, asked, begged, and yelled on a daily basis for the last three years that something had to change but KDP never listened. It’s time to listen, and it’s time to act. They can listen at the table, or they will hear us when we’re on the street.”

Negotiations are set to resume on March 8, 2022. Members with questions should contact Business Agent 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.

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Category: BEVERAGE

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