Thousands of workers for what is said to be the area’s largest bottler and distributor, Liberty Coca-Cola, have gone on strike.
A Teamsters Local 830 representative said Sunday that the union — which noted it represents more than 3,000 drivers, warehouse/production workers and sales/marketing personnel — was on strike, citing problems with a recently proposed contract.
“The hardworking members of Teamsters Local 830 have had enough, and frankly, so have I,” Daniel Grace, secretary-treasurer of the union, said in a statement. “From the start of our lengthy negotiations for a new contract, Liberty Coca-Cola has treated my members and the entire process with contempt. For a company that calls itself “the annual top performer in sales and revenue,”[ads1]; their latest contract proposal was insulting. Compensation is a big issue, 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, but they think they can treat us like second-class citizens. We will not stand for it.”
A statement from the union notes that Teamsters Local 830 members “overwhelmingly rejected Liberty Coca-Cola’s latest contract proposal and voted unanimously to strike.”
“We have negotiated in good faith with union leadership over the past several months. We presented a contract to our 400 members that offers the highest wage increases in Coca-Cola/Teamster Local 830 history, along with a generous health and welfare package,” said Liberty Coca- Coke in a statement.
“It’s one thing to say their wages are generous, we understand that, but that’s not what you need to stay afloat in today’s inflationary times,” Grace said at a news conference Sunday in response to what Liberty Coca-Cola said.
Union officials said picket lines were set up Sunday afternoon and 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 contract dispute is settled.”
Liberty says it has a contingency plan in place that allows continued delivery of its products to customers and consumers throughout the Philadelphia region.
Liberty Coca-Cola and Teamsters Local 830 continue to work together to reach an agreement.
This is a new development. It will be updated as more information becomes available.