PHILADELPHIA (NBC) - Thousands of workers for -- what is said to be -- the area’s largest soft drink bottler and distributor, Liberty Coca-Cola, have gone on strike.
A representative from Teamsters Local 830 said Sunday that the union -- which noted that it represents more than 3,000 drivers, warehouse/production workers and sales/marketing personnel -- went on strike, citing issues with a recently proposed contract.
“The hardworking members of Teamsters Local 830 have had enough and, frankly, so have I,” said Daniel Grace, secretary-treasurer for the union, in a statement. “From the outset of our lengthy negotiations on a new contract, Liberty Coca-Cola has treated my members and the entire process with disdain. For a company that calls itself ‘the annual top performer in sales and revenues,’ their last contract proposal was insulting. Compensation is a huge sticking point, as is their unwillingness to budge on a fair benefits package for our members. Liberty Coca-Cola knows that our Local 830 members are the driving force behind their operations and success, yet they think they can treat us like second-class citizens. We won’t stand for it.”
A statement from the union notes that Teamsters Local 830 members “overwhelmingly rejected Liberty Coca-Cola’s latest contract proposal and unanimously voted to strike.”
“We have been negotiating in good faith with union leadership over the last few months. We presented a contract for our 400 members that offers the highest wage increases in Coca-Cola/Teamster Local 830’s history, along with a generous health and welfare benefits package,” Liberty Coca-Cola said in a statement.
Officials with the union said that picket lines were being set up on Sunday afternoon and they will remain up at Liberty Coca-Cola’s Philadelphia plant, located along East Erie Avenue in North Philadelphia, and at other Liberty Coca-Cola locations “until the contractual dispute is settled.”