Momentous Agreement Achieved Between Teamsters Local 727 and Pepsi Beverages North America

| May 28, 2021

More than 400 days have passed since the COVID-19 pandemic began and Governor Pritzker ordered all Illinois residents to “shelter-in-place.” While most Illinois residents were able to work from home to protect themselves and their loved ones, over 500 Pepsi frontline, essential Teamster workers (in addition to thousands of other Local 727 members) reported to work, often 6 days a week. Our Pepsi brothers and sisters went to work even after Pepsi Beverages North America discontinued hazard pay. They showed up to work during inclement weather and continued to work during civil unrest. Shortly after the Governor ordered the “shelter-in-place,” Pepsi members selflessly agreed to a one-year contract extension, understanding it was the safe and smart decision during a worldwide health pandemic.

Finally, more than a year later, Teamsters Local 727 has reached a historic agreement with Pepsi Beverages North America, which includes substantial pay increases, a 25% increase to retirement, an additional holiday, the elimination of the Company’s unjust “double jeopardy” attendance practices, and a slew of other wins. “Our bargaining committee continued to fight throughout the negotiation process. Our Pepsi members should be incredibly proud of themselves and their bargaining committee,” said John Coli, Jr., Teamsters Local 727 Secretary-Treasurer. “We made it clear to management, both at the negotiations table and while at work, that the time for nickel raises and status quo contract language was over. These members risked their health, and the health of their loved ones, every day while management sat at home. Management needed to reward the members’ selflessness, hard work, and dedication.”

The substantial retirement increase was one of the most significant victories at the table. The bargaining committee made it clear throughout these negotiations that there must be a considerable increase to the retirement multiplier. Our bargaining committee refused to let management sell us short. Because of the members’ unity, the recommended offer includes a 25 percent increase to the pension multiplier which is retroactive for all previous years of service. Additionally, the Teamsters Local 727 bargaining committee won significant wage increases for all classifications, bringing parity to those classifications that were well below Pepsi’s competitors.

In addition to negotiating the MLK holiday off with pay, the Teamsters Local 727 bargaining committee insisted that Kankakee receive Presidents Day off. Furthermore, the committee was able to secure new language allowing members to receive vacation increases outlined in the CBA earlier. Going forward members will receive their vacation increases on their anniversary date so long as the anniversary is January 1st through September 1st instead of waiting until the following year. And finally, the bargaining committee secured increased cross-training for all classifications along with language that allows drivers the right to grieve changes to their routes. Merchandisers also won a guaranteed 8-hour workday, eliminating the Company’s practice of scheduling members 12 or 13-hour days only to send them home early in order to eliminate overtime opportunities.

“It is rare that the members receive multiple of their highest priority demands – we were able to take the outlined increases because our members are priceless. If there was any doubt of their worth before, the COVID-19 pandemic made it clear to all that the Chicagoland area could not run without Teamsters,” said John Coli, Jr. “From day one, the committee made it clear that increases to the retirement multiplier was an absolute requirement in this contract. In the last minute on the last day of negotiations, we marched into the room and demanded higher increases to the retirement multiplier. I am proud to say that the Company understood our solidarity and modified their last, best, and final offer. This is a historical agreement not just for Pepsi members but for the soda industry. Our members will not settle for less – we are Teamster strong.”

Members with questions should reach out to Business Agents Zach Frankenbach or Mike DeGard 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, Pepsi

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