Industry News | July 16, 2008

Teamsters Ratify Contract at Coca-Cola Facility

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Workers at Coca-Cola warehouse facility in Oceanside, California, voted overwhelmingly in favor of a first contract Sunday. The vote, 64 to 6 in favor of the contract, firms up a three-year collective bargaining agreement between the Teamster drivers and warehouse employees and the soft drink giant.

"Our workers were very strong here at Oceanside," says Shannon Silva, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 683, which represents the workers. "We had terrific support during the 14-day strike from the community, from the Teamsters joint council, and from the Teamsters Brewery and Soft Drink Workers Conference."

Community and union groups in the Oceanside and San Diego areas joined the strike effort by urging consumers to stop buying Coca-Cola products until the strike was resolved.

Among the benefits of this contract is the inclusion of workers in a Teamster-sponsored health benefit program. Previously, workers had been participating in a company plan that had expensive co-pays for prescription medicines and very high deductibles for doctors' visits. The Teamster plan, in contrast, has no deductibles and much lower prescription co-pays.

Coca-Cola's Oceanside facility opened in February 2007, and workers quickly organized and voted to become Teamster members. Sunday's contract ratification brings the process full circle by establishing a written collective bargaining agreement which the company and the union will follow. There are a total of 100 Teamster members working in the Oceanside facility.