BLUEFIELD, W.Va. –Just over two dozen members of the Teamsters Union Local 175 at the Coca Cola Consolidated distribution site in Bluefield, West Virginia have rejected the most recent contract offer with the company. The company called it their final offer and members of the union have indicated they are ready to go on strike July 28th when the contract expires unless there is a better deal offered.
“I felt like the company was going to be playing a game here, because they gave us a final offer a week and a half before the contract expires which they had never done in any location across the state,” said Teamsters 175 President Ken Hall.
Hall said the proposal was completely unacceptable. Hall said there were large increases demanded to for the employees’ insurance plan, after the workers had already agreed to pay more previously. He said the wage offering was 18 percent below a contract just signed by the two bodies for workers in the Charleston distribution facility. The Teamsters represent workers at the Coca Cola distribution points in Charleston which includes the Logan distribution facility, Parkesburg, and Clarksburg along with the Bluefield facility.
“We’ve settled contracts in all those locations. For whatever reason, three years ago they came in and low balled the employees in Bluefield. I don’t know why they do that because the company has acknowledged they have good employees there,” Hall said.
The contract runs through July 28th, but Hall said there’s been no indication bargaining talks will resume with the rejection of the most recent offer.
“No, none. The company gave us the final offer and said they wouldn’t be available,” he said.
Coca Cola Consolidated released the following statement to MetroNews on Monday.
“We care deeply about our Bluefield teammates and presented the union with a fair and equitable offer. It’s unfortunate that the union has taken our teammates out on strike, but we have a solid plan in place to ensure continuity in serving our customers and communities.”