More Bad Faith Behavior from Keurig Dr Pepper

| September 14, 2021

More than 2 years after the salesmen at Keurig Dr Pepper (“KDP”) democratically voted to be represented by Teamsters Local 727, management is still aggressively fighting their employees’ rights under the National Relations Labor Act. Shockingly, the company signed a settlement from Region 13 that included rescinding all unilateral changes KDP made to holiday scheduling, and then immediately violated the settlement by scheduling salesmen the Saturday during Labor Day weekend. 

Despite countless failed appeals of the NLRB’s certification of the salesmen unit, including a loss at the DC Circuit Court, KDP refuses to graciously accept their loss. While they have agreed in writing to recognize the Union, the company continues to violate the settlement agreement and refuses to treat their new Union employees with the respect and dignity they deserve. Most recently, Corey Franklin, the company’s outside attorney who has represented KDP during their countless losses fighting the Union, said the company was unwilling to participate in in-person bargaining over the effects of the re-routes of salesmen. Franklin cited “logistical and practical challenges” as the reason why the company was unwilling to engage in in-person negotiations. 

“With a brand new unit, a new bargaining committee, and a Company that has refused to engage in good faith bargaining, in-person negotiations is necessary,” says John Coli, Jr, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 727. “As long as Illinois is in Phase 5 of the Governor’s coronavirus plan, and we are able to safely mitigate the risks of coronavirus, there is no reason the company cannot bargain in-person. This is just another way for the company to act like they’re following the law, while doing everything they can to undermine their employees’ decision to be Teamsters and delay bargaining.”

Teamsters Local 727 has informed the NLRB’s compliance officers of the company’s violations and has asked them to determine if the company has to bargain in-person under the law and settlement agreement. Like all of us in the pandemic, the Union has adhered to local and federal guidance in choosing exposure risks for members and staff; in many cases virtual grievances and arbitration hearings have been successful. Unfortunately, the Union’s experience with KDP in virtual negotiations has been unsuccessful. Further virtual bargaining would be nothing more than an exercise in futility.

“Last fall, when the transmission percentage of coronavirus was at a high, the Union agreed to virtual bargaining with Franklin and the KDP committee. It was the safe and smart thing to do. Unfortunately, at some points, none of management had their cameras on. They were all likely doing other work, and Franklin unmuted himself just enough to find a creative way to say ‘no’ and insult the Union bargaining committee. The health and safety of our members, the Union staff, and all of our families has always been my number one priority. However, the Union has successfully bargained in-person with both Pepsi and Great Lakes Coca Cola in the past 6 months—not one person has been exposed or caught coronavirus during our bargaining sessions,” said John Coli, Jr. “I’m not sure what ‘logistical’ or ‘practical’ challenges Franklin is referring to—it’s clear Keurig Dr Pepper just doesn’t want to face their members. It’s time for them to answer for their bad behavior and to finally bargain in good faith with our new Teamsters brothers and sisters.”

Members with questions should contact Business Representative Caleen Carter-Patton at [email protected] or 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, Union News

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