Union Demands That Dr Pepper Make Members Whole and Follow CDC Guidance After Positive COVID-19 Case at Its Northlake Facility

| April 9, 2020

Until this week, Teamsters Local 727 has been pleasantly surprised by Keurig Dr Pepper’s COVID-19 policies and response which included a 20% hazard pay increase (including overtime), and paid leave for any member diagnosed with or forced to quarantine because of COVID-19. Their written response to coronavirus was a refreshing change from the Company’s normal profit over people rhetoric. From a Drivers’ strike in 2018 to the tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of dollars Keurig Dr Pepper has spent to fight the newly organized salesmen group, Keurig Dr Pepper has shown again and again their anti-Union, anti-worker agenda. Unfortunately, on April 7th, Keurig Dr Pepper’s anti-Union agenda and worker disregard reared its head once again.

On April 7th, KDP management informed the Union about a confirmed COVID-19 case. To protect workers, the Union immediately demanded that Keurig Dr Pepper close and send everyone home to get a third party Company to clean and disinfect the facility. Additionally, Teamsters Local 727 demanded that the Company strictly adhere to CDC guidance by conducted a thorough investigation of contact and quarantine anyone with pay who was in direct contact with/potentially infected by the confirmed coronavirus case. Management irrationally denied the Union’s request and continued to repeat “we are following Keurig Dr Pepper’s COVID-19 policy” and “we have to meet our business needs.” Only after Teamsters Local 727 threatened a press release, the Company decided to have a third party Company come in to clean. However, management did not want to close, even for one shift, and unilaterally changed the Sales Warehouse’s start time, violating the contract and National Labor Relations Act. When the Union called management out on their outrageous, unauthorized actions, the Company admitted they weren’t allowed to take the action they did, but would continue to put “business needs” over the well-being of their employees. Because of the unauthorized seven hour shift in start time, most members did not report to work. Many had family priorities that the change in start time would interfere with, and others did not feel comfortable going to work given the COVID-19 outbreak. The Union has filed a grievance and unfair labor practice charge to make sure no member is disciplined or given attendance points and that all affected members are made whole.

“I wish I could say I was surprised that Keurig Dr Pepper made such dangerous, and frankly, stupid decisions, but sadly I am not. The only way to get a Company like this to do the right thing is to threaten their public image or their profit. They have shown again and again that they do not value their frontline, essential workers but rather their own pockets. While the hazard pay and commitments the Company put in writing was a good step to protect and value their employees, management’s actions in the warehouse this week show who they really are,” said John Coli Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 727.

The Union has and will continue to file grievances and ULP charges, write politicians, and explore every avenue available to force employers to protect and pay their Teamsters workers.

Members with questions should contact Caleen Carter-Patton.
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

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