Teamsters Local 727 Demands Great Lakes Coca- Cola Protect Members During COVID-19 Pandemic

| November 17, 2020

As COVID-19 soars across the United States and the Chicagoland area, Great Lakes Coca-Cola has remained silent about any new measures to protect members and bringing back hazard pay. GLCC was the first Teamsters Local 727 represented company to end hazard pay. While the company previously put in to place a substandard “supplemental pay” that incentivized members to come to work sick, the additional $100 a week (contingent on not being sick) only lasted until April 25th. Since then, dozens of bargaining unit members and non-Union employees alike have tested positive for coronavirus, several have been hospitalized, and one member has died.
Adding insult to injury, Great Lakes Coca Cola used the fear and uncertainty of the worldwide pandemic to lay off close to 50 members, citing a lack of work, but was unable to provide documentation that supported the need for lay-offs. Even more egregiously, the company has refused to pay several members who were forced to quarantine because of coronavirus exposure and/or symptoms, which likely happened at the workplace. All of this to say, yet again, Great Lakes Coca Cola puts profit before people, even when it is the difference between life and death.

As Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot both released new “Stay at Home” advisories, and the rate of positive coronavirus cases double in Chicago, Teamsters Local 727 representatives sent a demand to bargain to Great Lakes Coca Cola. The demand to bargain is not just over hazard pay but also over the safety and working conditions for over 500 Teamsters Local 727 frontline, essential members. Additionally, the Union sent a comprehensive request for information that included: current COVID-19 safety policies and any changes that have occurred to policies since the start of the pandemic, safety policies for members that are forced to go into customer locations, any documentation outlining hazard pay at any GLCC locations across the country, and documentation about the number of COVID-19 positive cases at Teamsters Local 727 represented GLCC facilities. The information request and dates to bargain were due yesterday, November 16th. The Union has yet to receive a response from the company’s representatives.

“Great Lakes Coca Cola has always been one of the worst employers the Union has to deal with,” said John Coli, Jr, Teamsters Local 727 Secretary-Treasurer. “We know that they will discipline members without just cause. We know that they will violate the scheduling article of the contract. We know that they will take every opportunity to not only violate the contract but to treat their employees poorly. This is not about their anti-Union agenda. These are people’s lives—the difference between life and death—and it’s time they take it seriously. Great Lakes Coca Cola has to put into place policies and procedures to protect our members. In Alsip, they don’t have enough members to keep the lines running. If they need to shut down with pay for two weeks to protect their employees, GLCC has the resources to do so. It is time they put people before profit and protect the people who do the work while management stays safe. When this pandemic is over, GLCC will have to look their employees in the eyes and know that they are the reason the employees and their loved ones were sick. We demand they start protecting our members and paying them for their essential work before it is too late.”

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, Coca-Cola

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