| March 24, 2020

Last week, Teamsters Local 727 sent all soda companies represented by 727, including the American Bottling Company, a subsidiary of Keurig Dr Pepper (NYSE:KDP), a detailed information request that asked companies to explain measures they planned to take in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the union requested: 1) the sick leave and/or attendance policy the company will be using during this time to ensure members stay home while sick and/or to identify exposure; 2) what cleaning standards have been put in place including increased cleaning and disinfecting; and 3) what measures the company is taking to keep members informed of policies, procedures and exposures. While the company has not formally replied to the union’s request for information, they did provide two letters to the union detailing the company’s current efforts to protect members and their families.

The letter stated that effective March 23, during this international health crisis, all actively working Keurig Dr Pepper bargaining unit members would be given a temporary hazard pay incentive of “additional twenty (20%) percent on top of the negotiated straight time rate for hours worked.” When Teamsters Local 727 reached out to Keurig Dr Pepper to ensure the hazard pay and any safety measures would also apply to the new unit of sales services representatives and account managers, a company representative told the union they would not discuss the salesmen unit as “their position is they are not union.” The salesmen unit overwhelmingly voted to join Teamsters Local 727 last summer and has subsequently been certified by both Region 13 and the National Labor Relations Board. Keurig Dr Pepper has appealed these decisions and lost multiple times. To date, they are spending thousands of dollars at the circuit court to continue to fight 727’s representational status instead of adhering to their obligations under the law and bargaining with the union. The union sent a follow-up email to the Company reiterating the questions about safety and additionally asking for KDP to provide “a detailed explanation of why all hourly, commission, and base pay non-managerial members at KDP were given an incentive hazard pay except for the sales services representatives and account managers.” Teamsters Local 727 also filed an unfair labor practice charge against Keurig Dr Pepper for its apparent retaliation against these sales service representatives and account managers.

“Just when we thought Keurig Dr Pepper was going to surprise us and do the right thing, they show their true colors. While it is great that the company provided hazard pay for other bargaining unit groups, it is reprehensible that they are excluding the sales frontline employees just to penalize them for voting in favor of union representation. Putting any essential worker in danger or excluding them from hazard pay is immoral. Management should be ashamed of themselves,” said Secretary-Treasurer John Coli Jr.

Members with questions should contact Caleen Carter-Patton (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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