UPDATE (10:17 a.m. on Wednesday, April 26): According to Teamsters President Ken Hall, the Coca-Cola workers have decided not to strike for the time being.
He says they have very close relationships with customers, and they want to wait a few days to see if Coca-Cola Consolidated comes forward with a better offer.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Nearly 100 unionized Coca-Cola employees are now on strike, according to Teamsters Local Union 175.
According to union representatives, the new contracts given to them through Coca-Cola have not changed. The agreement Coca-Cola made with Sheetz has also not changed.
Teamsters President Ken Hall also says the picket line could extend to other Coca-Cola locations in both West Virginia and Ohio.
Coca-Cola Consolidated released this statement in response to the strike:
“We care deeply about our teammates and believe we presented a fair and competitive offer. We’re disappointed the union decided to take our teammates out on strike but remain committed to working with them on an equitable resolution. We have a solid plan in place to continue serving our customers.”COCA-COLA CONSOLIDATED
On Sunday, 78 workers met at Teamsters Union Hall in South Charleston and unanimously voted against Coca-Cola’s new contract offer. Teamsters says the new contract offer will eliminate jobs and reduce pay for several workers.
After that meeting, Teams released the following statement:
“The manner in which they treat their employees is disgusting. The company wants to eliminate work for its own employees which is the opposite of what their competitors are doing in the state of WV who want all of the work to be handled by their own employees. Perhaps that is why their competitors sell more product in WV than Coca-Cola.
In terms of their deal with Sheetz, I am surprised that Sheetz has entered into that agreement with Coke given the fact that the majority of their business consists of working people and in areas such as Morgantown the majority of their business is college students. The one thing that is certain is that West Virginian’s do not support nor appreciate out of state companies who come to WV to destroy jobs.
Coke should be aware of this, given that in 2000 when Coke forced a strike at their then Huntington, WV facility, they lost substantial amounts of business in WV. During that strike the company could have settled the Huntington contract for less than $50,000, instead spent over $3 million dollars during the strike in addition to firing the CEO of the company within two months of the conclusion of the strike.”KEN HALL, PRESIDENT TEAMSTERS LOCAL 175
Following the previous unanimous vote, Coca-Cola Consolidated released the following statement:
“We care deeply about our West Virginia teammates, and we’re dedicated to strengthening the communities where they live and work. Any assertion to the contrary is inaccurate.
We’ve continually invested in our West Virginia business operations, and we support non-profits and community organizations our teammates take part in and care about. We value our teammates’ contributions and hold regular appreciation events at our facilities.
We’ve provided the union a fair and competitive contract offer for their members. We don’t believe a work stoppage is in our teammates’ best interest. During this time, we remain focused on continuing to serve our customers.”COCA-COLA CONSOLIDATED
Teamsters also represents Coca-Cola employees in Bluefield, Clarksburg, and Parkersburg. Workers in Bluefield also went on strike against Coca-Cola in July 2021.